I Love You Beth Cooper does one thing right, it gives moviegoers one of those rare believable female characters in a movie dedicated to a teenage boy’s fantasy. Unfortunately while Beth Cooper may have some dimension, I Love You Beth Cooper is nothing more than a weak remix of 80’s high school movies, with a plot so predictable that you can guess what comes next before it even happens. And besides Beth, every single character in the movie is another annoying two dimensional cliche.
There’s the prototypical nerd, Dennis Cooverman, who has a bedroom full of Star Wars models, a plastic lightsaber he uses as a weapon and can name the boiling temperature of any liquid. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s played by Paul Rust who demonstrates the scientific principle of negative charisma. There’s his best friend who’s supposedly in the closet, but is nothing more than a series of gay jokes, right down to him joining the cheerleaders in one of their routines. Beth Cooper comes with her own collection of stereotypes, including a slutty dumb friend and a psychotic marine boyfriend.
Like most teen comedies lately, I Love You Beth Cooper boils down into a road trip movie in which everyone runs around a lot, stuff gets broken, embarrassing accidents abound and closure comes from realizing that the whole point of things is the journey not the destination, the inevitable coda to any road trip flick. I Love You Beth Cooper isn’t anywhere as bad as Sex Drive or Fanboys, but it’s not as superior to them as it would like you to think. And though directed by Chris Columbus, of easy viewing hits like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire, I Love You Beth Cooper suffers from awkward pacing and forced comedy. The gags are set up in plain sight and the only payoff is usually more humiliation for Dennis Cooverman, who winds up in his lucky underpants, bleeding, bandaged with tampons, beaten up repeatedly and saddled with a gay stereotype of a best friend who shoots movie lines at him non-stop.
I Love You Beth Cooper set out to deliver a more realistic female movie lead, and it did, unfortunately everything else about it is stale, worn and awkwardly unfunny.