“When Denis Cooverman, the geekiest guy in high school, proclaims his love for super-popular Beth Cooper during his valedictorian speech, everyone is… well… speechless! But the real shock comes that night when Beth shows up at Denis’ house with her two best friends to show him how the cool kids party. You’ll lol as Denis tries to keep up with Beth – and stay away from her maniacal ex-boyfriend Kevin and his ticked-off pals. Plus, watch Denis and Beth take their hilarious relationship to a whole new level with the outrageous alternate ending you didn’t see in theaters!”
“I Love You, Beth Cooper” is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language, some teen drinking and drug references, and brief violence.
“I Love You, Beth Cooper” is essentially a throwback to the teen comedies of the ’80s, just without the nudity. You have the heroes who are a couple of nerds. You know that by the fact that they are “Star Wars” fans, they are movie fans, and one of them wears “Spider-Man” underwear. You also know they are nerds by the fact that they are picked on by bullies who are equally stereotypical. They are big, stupid, violent, and never arrested for assault. Then you have the stereotypical “hot girls” who are beautiful cheerleaders that are untouchable yet ultimately won over by the alpha nerd.
Everything about this movie is stereotypical. From the characters to the plot, it has all been done before and done better. Just look at “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Better Off Dead,” and any John Hughes film ever made. Even look at the recent “Superbad” and the plots match up. I think it’s possible to revisit these old formula films, but if you do, you’d better bring an exciting actor or a fresh spin to the material. This movie does neither.
Besides the lack of originality, this film has a bunch of other problems. One is the lack of realism. For example, Beth’s jealous boyfriend does a home invasion and destroys Denis’ house while proceeding to assault him. In the real world, the guy would have ended up in jail or on COPS. In this movie, everyone laughs it off. Denis also would have been tackled on the stage by the principal if he had tried to make that speech at a real school. The other problem is that Beth Cooper isn’t particularly likable. She’s stuck up, manipulative, and dating a homicidal pedophile. None of that makes her particularly endearing, even after soul bearing moments with Denis. (I think in some respects we’re supposed to realize she’s not Denis’ fantasy girl, but she’s never really likable even after that revelation.) Then there’s Jack Carpenter as Rich Munsch, the token gay character who’s main function seems to be to generate gay / ‘come out of the closet’ jokes from the other characters. It gets old fast.
I’d recommend “I Love You, Beth Cooper” to fans of Hayden Panettiere since they’ll probably like her in anything she stars in. I’d also recommend it to fans of ’80s teen comedies since they’ll probably view this as more of a tribute to the genre rather than a weak attempt at offering it up as something new.
There are a few bonus features on this DVD. The most notable is an alternate ending in which Beth’s psychotic boyfriend tracks them down one last time, then proceeds to torture Denis and Rich. Denis turns the tables on the guy (and strikes a “Star Wars” movie poster pose after triumphing), but nearly drowns the bully in the process. Eventually the cops intervene and arrest the bullies, thus addressing my gripe above. But it’s an alternate ending, so it doesn’t count. There are four other deleted scenes included on the DVD, including one flashback where Beth remembers Denis from math class… with his fly down. There are also some featurettes on the writer, the actors, and an annoying improvised song by Paul Rust called “Peanut Butter Toast.” Also included are two Fox Channel specials on Paul Rust and Hayden Panettiere.