I Love You, Beth Cooper (review)

Though he’s never so much as spoken to the poor girl before, nerd announces during his high-school valedictorian speech that he “loves” the “hottest” girl in school. In the real world, this would be called an act of passive-aggressive behavior by an antisocial creep, but in the world of adolescent romantic comedies, this is deemed a charming and daring act by a “nice guy” who’s been oppressed by the “hotness” of certain females into silent inaction… till now. This being a male fantasy — it’s based on a novel by Larry Doyle [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.], whom I presume is male — the “hot” girl (Hayden Panettiere: Shanghai Kiss) is charmed by the nerd (Paul Rust [Semi-Pro], who is, creepily, a decade too old for the role), and proceeds to give him the “night of his life,” an all-night postgraduation party that features a variety of life-threatening events for the nerd: he is slammed by the hot girl’s car at high speed, receives multiple violent beatings from the hot girl’s psychotic boyfriend, and more. At the end of the night — which is filled with “jokes” about victims of sexual abuse, homosexuality, and cute animals turned rabid, plus random cheerleading thrown in for distraction as needed — nerd discovers that even though he’s disappointed to discover that the hot girl is a reckless, whorish slut, he will deign to continue to bestow his love upon her, perhaps in the hopes of redeeming her. As if the content weren’t offensive enough, director Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) appears to be under the impression that he has made a coming-of-age drama of deep sincerity and poignancy, for all the film’s shocking incompetence in actually getting the story onto the screen. It’s a case of, “Waiter, this soup is terrible… and the bowl it came in is ugly, too.”

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