My standards for good comedy have been high and difficult to meet in 2009. It must be intelligent and engaging. I want a comedy that not only makes me laugh, but at the same make me say, “Hey, that could actually happen to me.” One example so far in ’09 would be I Love You, Man, the best comedy I’ve seen so far. However, The Hangover and Funny People look promising and Bruno has the making of being the comedy of the year. I have been harsh in criticzing comedies because most of them generally aren’t funny. Romantic comedies are the worst (Ghost of Girlfriends Past) and brain-dead comedies are awful (Step Brothers). I Love You, Beth Cooper is a cross between both of these and it continues to prove my theory of why comedies are horrid. This one just looks like a cross between Superbad (good) and The New Guy (awful), so you essentially get the same retread story about a nerd who wants to get the hottest chick in school. The movie also takes place during one night at the party, which has been done countless times in teen comedies.
This one stars Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) as Beth Cooper, the stereotypical, ultra-popular, hot high school girl. She is on the eve of her graduation and during the ceremony, she is shocked when one of her classmates, nerd valedictorian Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust, Inglorious Basterds), announces that he loves her during his commencement speech. Denis also calls out her older military boyfriend, Kevin (Shawn Roberts, Diary of the Dead), by saying he’s a loser for hanging around his old high school. The Kevin character almost looks like a rip-off of Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) from American Pie, an actually good teen comedy. After the ceremony, Beth says she’s angry with Denis, but forgives him. Denis throws a graduation party and he invites her. Beth surprises him by agreeing to go and further shocks him by actually showing up. Also showing up is Kevin and his military boys who are ready to kick Denis’ ass. Denis must win the heart of Beth and have her break up with Kevin, before Kevin rings him out to dry.
Chris Columbus (not the explorer) directs I Love You, Beth Cooper and he actually did some funny comedies like Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. Larry Doyle wrote the novel the film is based on and adapted it into a screenplay. He’s also written a handful of “The Simpsons” episodes.
This looks decent, but it seems the same formulaic plot of teen comedies might bog it down. I’m sure this will be a huge hit for younger audiences however, especially those who just graduated high school.
I Love You, Beth Cooper opens July 10th.