I Love You, Beth Cooper

For about five minutes — make that two minutes — I thought this movie might have something. Dweeb valedictorian Dennis Cooverman (Paul Rust, looking like a clone of the young Sean Penn that didn't quite take) urges graduating high-school students to release the feelings inside. (Watch Peter Travers' video review of I Love You, Beth Cooper.) "I love you, Beth Cooper", he blurts out to the cheerleading hottie (Hayden Panettiere), who squirms in her seat at being namechecked by a loser. Larry Doyle, adapting his much (make that a double much) better novel for the screen, appears ready to twist the John Hughes formula into frisky new shapes. Don't get your hopes up. Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter films (the bad ones), flattens every joke and sucks the life out of the actors. Panettiere, so winning as the cheerleader on Heroes (and they say Hollywood takes no casting risks!), substitutes posing for a performance this time out. Columbus's flair for sight gags reaches its peak when Dennis uses two tampons to stem a nosebleed. Aiming for the heartfelt hilarity of Superbad, I Love You, Beth Cooper is just super bad.

 

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