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July 25, 2009
Review - " I Love You, Beth Cooper "  - (in Theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Hayden Panettiere, Paul Rust, Jack Carpenter, Lauren London - I Love You Beth Cooper
I Love You Beth Cooper - movie poster
Hayden Panettiere - The holy trinaty takes a shower - I Love You Beth Cooper
I Love You, Beth Cooper
Directed By Chris Columbus
Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Paul Rust, Jack Carpenter, Lauren

I Love You, Beth Cooper might have worked as either a joyful, gleefully
mischievous, yet ultimately conservative rebel yell (a la Ferris Bueller's
Day Off) or thought-provoking tale of teenagers finally growing up (The
Breakfast Club). Like those two infinitely superior movies, I Love You,
Beth Cooper takes place over the course of one eventful day in the life
of its teen-aged subjects, but Columbus can't decide whether the
movie should be an uncomfortable comedy of embarrassment and
humiliation or a sweet, sentimental romance. The tone wavers
uncertainly throughout - often within individual scenes - and the film's
general inertia quickly becomes wearisome. It follows a similar plot to
another teen movie, "Can't Hardly Wait", which also was an infinitely
nbetter flick. At any rate, “I Love You, Beth Cooper” is not one of those
good teen movies. It’s mediocre, at best, and it’s not because director
Chris Columbus doesn’t have the chops for it. After all, his
writing/directing/producing credits include “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Harry
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and “Night at the Museum.” All
good, if not great, movies. Things just didn’t click with this one.

Hayden Panettiere makes for an unlikely Beth Cooper. She's meant to
be a high school dream girl, a fantasy figure concocted by the
awkward, uber-nerd Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) through all the
years that he's sat behind her in class and stared at her picture on his
bedroom ceiling.
The plot is set in motion when Denis declares his love for Beth during their graduation speech, and then proceeds to
unburden himself of all his other unspoken feelings in one fell swoop. He singles out the class bully and a pretty but shallow
party girl, takes a verbal swipe at Beth's boyfriend Kevin (Shawn Roberts), and tells his movie-quoting best friend Rich (Jack
T. Carpenter) to admit that he's gay.

Denis' speech upsets everyone except Beth, who thinks it was "sweet," giving Denis the courage to invite her to a party at his
house that night. The military-trained Kevin, though, takes the greatest umbrage at Denis for calling him an 'over-aged loser
who keeps company with high school girls because he can't get a date with a girl his own age.' Kevin is determined to destroy
Denis and stalks him continually, ready to rain down merciless punishment, along with his two equally-fit Army buddies.

Denis' mother (Cynthia Stevenson) and father (Alan Ruck, from Ferris Bueller oh so many years ago) leave him and Rich
alone at the house for their party, which no one attends, of course; they're social outcasts. Until, that is, Beth shows up in her
tiny blue car with her friends Cammy (Lauren London) and Treece (Lauren Storm). Beth, we're meant to believe, must have
some kind of interest in Denis, or else why would she show up? Her friends are catty and mean-spirited, not showing an
ounce of human empathy when Denis accidentally cuts himself opening a bottle of champagne and starts bleeding profusely.
Beth is one step above them, rushing over to help Denis.
Beth is meant to be a dream
girl, but one with glaring
imperfections that shatter
Denis' fantasy. A turning
point comes right after the
gang (Denis, Beth, Rich,
Cammy, and Treece) have
escaped from Kevin and his
comrades. Denis and Beth
go into a liquor store to buy
beer, but the clerk (Samm
Levine) refuses to sell to the
under-aged kids until Beth
offers to 'kiss you so good
you'll mess your underwear
when you think about it later.
We don't see the kiss, but
Denis is disillusioned by her
actions: "She's not Beth
That's not the only change, but I think it's symptomatic of the picture as a whole. Panettiere is a lovely actress, fully
capable of dramatizing inner turmoil and anguish, and can certainly play bubbly and cute. And in her "nude scene," she
happily shows off her bare back, above the waist, and a flash of side boob. But her Beth Cooper doesn't really seem like an f-
bomb dropping, rule-breaking girl who walks on the wild side and is willing to get her hands dirty in the process of having a
good time. She's a hottie, but not a truly naughty hottie. At one point Denis says that she scares him, yet the movie Beth isn't
scary at all, she's too light-spirited and good-hearted to harbor a reservoir of troubled feelings.

The 28-year-old Rust is not terribly convincing as Denis. He's supposed to be fearful of a great many things and, indeed, the
actor often looks timid and uncertain. He's so "all aflutter," though, that it feels cruel to laugh at him. At the same time,
I can't remember anything he said that sounded funny. It's either his delivery, or his timing, or ... who nose (and it IS a
predigiously large nose)

There’s really nothing memorable about this movie. It’s cliche and predictable. All of the characters are so stereotypical
that it hurts – nerd, cheerleader, bully, closet gay, giggly best friends … they’re all here.
What made “The Breakfast Club” so great is that
while the characters started out stuck squarely in
their particular clique, by the end of the movie, you
could see all the many layers of each character. No
one was who we thought they were at the
beginning. But at the end of “I Love You, Beth
Cooper,” the characters are all pretty much the
same as they started.

I wish I could recommend this movie, because I like
Hayden Panettiere, but it’s just not there. Overall
Beth Cooper is a disappointingly lame film. Hayden
Panettiere IS incredibly hot and you do catch a
slight glimpse of her breast in the shower scene,
but definitely give this one a pass. Semi-nude
Hayden is the only reason Beth Cooper got 1 1/2
stars instead of just 1/2 which is what it really