Friday, July 24, 2009
I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER (C)
I saw this movie for one reason, and one reason only. Her name is Hayden Panettiere. She stars in this movie as the high school cheerleader and bombshell Beth Cooper. While this role is not far from her normal high school cheerleader persona (Heroes, Bring It On: All or Nothing), her character Beth Cooper is definitely the most unique cheerleader she has played (well besides the fact in Heroes she cannot be killed, but I mean personality-wise). And yes, I will admit, I have seen Bring It On: All or Nothing. It pretty much sucks minus the fact that Hayden is like a dancing goddess, so it was worth it!
I Love You Beth Cooper is a simple high school story based on the novel of Larry Doyle (the screenplay was also written by Doyle). A nerdy boy falls for the hottest girl at school, but he has never even spoken to her. Well, this nerdy boy Denis Cooverman (it may take viewers sometime to get over how big this dudes nose is, almost like Gonzo) is the valedictorian of the class and decides to use his graduation speech in front of his peers to confess his love to a girl he barely knows. While Denis embarrasses himself in front of everyone, he finally gets his chance to talk to Beth Cooper after his speech.
While Beth found the speech flattering, her crazy Marine boyfriend did not find it cute and wants to painfully punish Denis. After the ceremony Denis holds a graduation party at his house, but the only people in attendance are Denis and his fellow loser friend Rich. Of course it wouldn't be a movie if Beth and her two friends did not show up to the party. The film turns interesting as Beth's lunatic boyfriend uses the GPS on her phone to track her to the party where he and his Marine buddies proceed to destroy the Cooverman residence. Denis, Rich, Beth and her two friends escape and an adventure follows.
While the plot sounds promising, this movie just did not do it for me. The comedy was way over the top in almost every regard. Despite adult concepts (drinking, drugs, sex) the humor feels like it was written for kids watching this movie on Nickelodeon (the towel whipping fight, the psycho boyfriend). The comedy begins silly and never changes to fit the demographic of teenagers. Not only does much of the humor feel directed towards a very young audience because of its ridiculous nature, some of the jokes/scenes were drawn out way to long giving me a sense of restlessness for the film to progress.
The characters themselves were interesting and actually had some development as we learn more about their lives. The beginning of the film starts off with uncomfortable and awkward moments between Denis and Beth in their early exchanges. Throw in the fact that he's a dork and she's a high school princess the results are excruciating and blundering moments between these two. Thankfully as the film advances so does their relationship to the point where you can feel chemistry between them.
Hayden Panettiere is well practiced at her character, and once again nailed her role. Paul Rust also portrayed a nerd to the finest detail with his role of Denis. The supporting cast was not great by any means, but complimented the story fine. My favorite supporting role was the the best mate of Denis named Rich. He rifles off famous film quotes throughout I Love You Beth Cooper giving the more knowledgeable movie crowd a pleasant treat.
At 102 minutes long this movie feels like it will never come to an end. Too many scenes I can only describe as filler clog up the middle of this film making viewers desire for some conclusion. Instead of focusing on the two main characters, the screenwriter added in plenty of fat which brings me back to the "scenes/jokes being dragged on" argument. I Love You Beth Cooper could have benefited from some good editing to trim out the excess fat to focus on the story and its most important characters.
Overall, this film is the cliche teen drama composed by the writers of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (not really, just a joke people). There are good comedic elements, but most is just too stupid or silly it feels like a Disney Channel movie. While this film is not well written, the eventful story is still fun to watch unfold. I liked the characters, the story, and some of the light humor...but none of these are good enough to save this project. Should you go?? For a matinee or wait for DVD.
My biggest fear is that Hayden Panettiere is selling herself short as an actress by always playing this same role of the cheerleader. She is doing it to the point where casting directors may never see her as anything else except a cheerleader/high school girl/sex symbol. Hayden has proven her talent as an actress on the TV show Heroes and I'm optimistic she can move to more demanding roles in film. Hayden has the talent and the looks (oh my god does she ever!) which hopefully is the recipe for a promising career.
Maybe she just needs a new agent?
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