On graduation day, valedictorian Denis Cooveman (Paul Rust) decides to use his speech to call out a few of his classmates, while also declaring his love for popular cheerleader, Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere). Beth finds the speech kind of sweet but it certainly rankles some of his classmates, including Beth’s beefcake boyfriend who becomes hellbent on kicking Denis’s ass.
Denis and his best friend Rich (Jack Carpenter) plan for what they hope will be a crazy graduation party, but instead, Beth and her two friends are the only ones who show… at least for a while. Her boyfriend tracks her down and so begins a wild night of crazy teenage hijinks as Denis, Rich, Beth, and her friends drive around town, getting into trouble and getting beat up.
And that’s basically the entire movie. If you’ve seen a coming of age teen comedy that takes place around the end of the school year, then you’ve already seen this. Chances are, it was a better movie than I Love You, Beth Cooper as well. Don’t get me wrong, this movie wasn’t a total train wreck. It did have some heart and a moment or two that I felt really worked, but for the most part, I found it incredibly unimaginative and painfully unfunny.
The night that Denis and co. spend together feels never-ending as they all drive from one misadventure to another. Denis begins to realize that the girl of his dreams is not, in fact, the same girl in reality. Beth is a terrible driver who does whatever she wants to do, motivated by her realization that she’s probably peaked in high school and has nothing but a rather ordinary, boring life ahead of her. This could have been something to explore, but it’s meant to be nothing more than a way for the nerdy guy to make her feel worthy and interesting.
At some point, the movie began to feel rather repetitive. Beth’s lunkhead boyfriend continually shows up wherever the group ended up and I remember at one point, saying out loud “This guy again?” How many times do we need to see Denis get punched in the face by the same guy? The humor was pretty flat, the hijinx cliche. Denis’s friend Rich may or may not be gay and there are plenty of jokes made about it. Chris Columbus is a talented director and has plenty of classics on his resume, but sadly, I didn’t feel his touch in this movie at all.
I Love You, Beth Cooper is just a run-of-the-mill teen rom-com that lacks any originality. Honestly, the best part of this movie is Denis’s valedictorian speech. I enjoyed it quite a bit and had high hopes for the rest of the movie after that scene, but alas, enjoyment was not meant to be.