I Love You, Beth Cooper
I gotta say, since "Heroes" started, Hayden Panettiere has been my next star-in-the-making.
Okay, maybe she's really been my she's-18-right? celebrity crush, but you know what I'm saying.
So playing the vixen in the high-school-boy fantasy "I Love You, Beth Cooper" should be right in her wheelhouse.
And it is, but that doesn't make the movie any good.
"Cooper" follows valedictorian Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust), who in a fit of seize-the-day, proclaims his love for the school sexpot during graduation, in front of his parents, her, all of their friends, and her ROTC-cadet boyfriend (Shawn Roberts), setting off a teen sex comedy that wants to be in the league of stuff like "Porky's" or "American Pie."
The difference is those movies are funny, and "Cooper" is not. "Beth" forgot her funny. Instead we get Nickelodeon-grade pratfalls and lame situations, and a best-friend sidekick who may or may not be gay.
And who would love Beth after the stuff she pulls? She's mean and moody and out of control. But still Denis endures the beatings at the hands of Beth's ROTC-cadet boyfriend Kevin (Shawn Roberts). Funny, I remember most of the military kids in my school were a little on the dorky side.
Add in things like a complete, willful and wanton destruction of property, and a complete lack of police activity resulting, and you get a wholly unbelievable narrative. In one scene, Kevin destroy's Denis' house, then beats him up at someone else's house party, a scene that ends with Beth driving a Hummer into the house to escape.
It's all meant to be silly, but in a sex comedy like this, the fun is in realizing the fantasy in the real world, not in entering a fantasy world all its own. The fun is gone when our characters aren't real people.
I could go into a breakdown of the acting, but there's not much point. The stars are passable and may or may not be capable of doing decent work in other films, but the material here is so wretched it is really difficult to tell.
DVD extras are unnecessarily copious given the quality of the film, with a commentary track, a "Godfather II"-style alternate ending that is better than the one offered in the final film, a couple of featurettes, and a series of increasingly worthless deleted scenes.
It's all window dressing for a condemned house, or lipstick on Sarah Palin. It's just a waste of time.