I Love You, Beth Cooper

Did director Chris Columbus fall behind on his payments on a subprime mortgage? Even if so, I’m not sure it excuses this joyless, offensively stupid end-of-high-school farce, set in motion when nerdy valedictorian Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) uses his commencement address to profess his unrequited love for the titular cheerleading goddess (Hayden Panettiere). Complications ensue as Ms. Cooper pays a grad-night visit chez Cooverman with two gal pals in tow and a coked-up Army brat boyfriend (Shawn Roberts) in hot pursuit. Cue the listless succession of house trashings, party crashings, realizations that beautiful people can be insecure, too, and enough reckless driving to result in a double-digit body count. At least Columbus and writer Larry Doyle are up-front about their inspirations, giving Denis a film-geek BFF (Jack T. Carpenter). But why no love for Columbus’ own 1987 debut feature, Adventures in Babysitting, which went through these same one-wild-night paces with real ingenuity and pizzazz? “This isn’t fun anymore,” says the wise young Cooverman after his third or fourth near-death experience. “Who says it’s supposed to be fun?” replies his unattainable lady love. Exactly.

Categories: Movies