I Love You, Beth Cooper

Denis Cloverman is a strange little man, a charmless, sheltered Star Wars fanatic who still wears Spider-Man underwear and whose only friend is an annoyingly compulsive movie quoter in denial of his own homosexuality.  He needs a life changing experience.  Pronto.
 
He’s about to deliver the Valedictorian address at his high school graduation and all he can think about is…her.  The cute blond who sat in front of him in class after class.  The mysterious cheerleader he’s been crushing on since the seventh grade.  The elusive dream girl he doesn’t deserve to be with.
 
Terrifyingly awkward, the shellshocked teen proceeds to embarrass himself and all in attendance by declaring his love for a fellow graduate he barely knows.
 
So begins I Love You, Beth Cooper, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  It contains not a single laugh.  Not one.  There’s also not a single believable moment in this deeply insulting piece of cinematic trash.  No credible characters, either.  It may the most unpleasant teen comedy ever produced.
 
The charisma deficient Paul Rust is saddled with the role of Cloverman, a painfully uncool nerd who is the poster child for social discomfort.  His sole compadre, Rich (the incredibly annoying Jack T. Carpenter), convinces him that their public graduation ceremony is the perfect opportunity to break the ice with Beth Cooper (a less than lovable Hayden Pantierre), the aforementioned cutie he’s long been way too shy to talk to in private.  His argument is so ridiculous one wonders why anyone, let alone the overly tolerant Denis, would give it any serious consideration. 
 
Oh, but Denis follows his friend’s bad advice alright and unfortunately gets carried away with his own adrenalized boldness.  As a result, he angers a number of people he shouldn’t, including Beth’s incredibly hostile boyfriend, Kevin (Shawn Roberts), who must be allergic to smiling.  (Scowling’s more his thing.)  It takes all of one second to realize that pissing that guy off for any reason is a death sentence.  For a Valedictorian, the smarmy Denis sure isn’t that bright.  (He also outs Rich and humiliates a few others by revealing things a classier human being would keep to himself.  Denis isn’t classy.)
 
And yet his couragous gesture does the trick.  Beth actually starts talking to him (which aggravates the relentless Kevin).  So he invites her to his house for a party.  Even more incredible, she shows up with her two hot but equally vapid friends.  Along with Rich, it’s just the five of them.  No one else was invited.  Their entire high school is relieved. 
 
It’s unbearably clear, though, that these heartless bimbos could care less about their dweeby hosts whose mutual inexperience with the opposite sex (and hosting house parties) results in one cringe worthy moment after another.  It’s a difficult sequence to watch.  Five unlikeable characters standing around not relating to each other at all with meanspiritedness the only item offered on this unwelcome menu.
 
Then, the rather resourceful Kevin (a crazed, drugged out military guy who Beth later insists was sweet and kind when they first dated) crashes the party with his two goons.  After an impromptu kitchen renovation (think microwave through the wall and lots of broken glass) and an absurd bedroom fight sequence (a toy light saber vs. two arms ripped off a skeleton), the insufferable fivesome make their escape with the chiselled Kevin and company never too far behind.
 
As we get to know Beth, looks aside, we wonder why Denis is so enamoured with her.  She’s the complete opposite of a dream girl.  It’s more accurate to describe her as a dour rulebreaker with no hope for the future.  (She worries about peaking too soon.)  She’s also confused, reckless, inconsiderate, insensitive, trampy, unfunny, dumb and without a doubt, a strong candidate for the title of America’s Worst Driver.  In fact, nearly midway through the film Denis openly admits his disappointment to an agreeable Rich who urges him to move on.  But the horrendous screenplay has other ideas, mainly forced bonding.
 
And so the film keeps these five idiots together for the duration so that predictability replaces cruelty.  Well, not entirely.  This tasteless movie is jerky from start to finish. 
 
Furthermore, Beth must have incredibly low self esteem.  Essentially, she has to choose between an unfaithful, coked out warrior with a proficiency in stalking (Kevin) and a personality deficient geek whose "love" for her is more creepy than endearing (Denis).  This dilemma reminds me of Urban Cowboy when Debra Winger had to choose between a physical abuser (Scott Glenn) and a mental one (John Travolta).  Did I mention this is a comedy?
 
Another reason to despise Denis is how he treats his ex-girlfriend, Patty (Anna Mae Routledge in a truly thankless cameo), who he openly refers to as his "secret shame".  When we meet her at a more happening house party (you know the kind with cool tunes and more than five people), she seems perfectly nice.  (Who cares if she’s riddled with acne?)  So does her friend, Angelica (Violet Columbus), who actually pays Denis a compliment for his speech.  (Good Lord, what a bitch.)  These two assclowns look for any excuse to get away from them.  Once they learn from Angelica that Kevin is in the vicinity, they shamelessly bolt.  Quite frankly, they did those ladies a favour.  Patty and Angelica deserve much better.
 
This formulaic dreck moves about as fast as a turtle in quicksand as you continually squirm impatiently in your seat waiting for the goddamn thing to end already.  As a result, you grow tiresome of the stubbornly closeted Rich and his irritating ongoing obsession with reciting movie lines which no one asked him to do.  (And don’t get me started on his mad skillz with a wet towel.  It’s more sad than anything else.)  You puzzle at the idea of Denis and Beth growing closer and acting less awkwardly with each other when they have zilcho chemistry.  And you wonder why Denis’ parents (the wasted Alan Ruck and Cynthia Stevenson) never once get upset with his antics.  (Humiliating fellow students at graduation?  Throw a party, son!  Have a good time.  You let a psycho destroy our kitchen?  I guess you should be grounded.  Maybe.)
 
In a decade stained with garbage, I Love You, Beth Cooper is right up there with the cream of the crap.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, September 16, 2010
3:21 a.m.
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Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 3:21 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. very well said. this is one heck of an epic fail movie.


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