Riddle me this: Do you love movies about child molestation, child rape, animal cruelty, drug abuse, pedophilia, homophobia, alcohol abuse, and bulimia all of which is played for wacky comedy, sight gags, and relentless running gags? Well then strap in for “I Love You, Beth Cooper” a movie that actually turns a character with an eating disorder in to a pun where the camera man zooms in to her stick thin waist as if to draw some form of giggles from a crippling potentially deadly psychological disorder. I couldn’t believe the editor tried to use this as something of a joke and treat it with such a tongue in cheek manner. Do you think I’m being a kill joy? Well then you probably haven’t seen this mean spirited utterly cruel romance comedy that is probably one of the creepiest teen misadventures I’ve ever seen.
Deep down “I Love you Beth Cooper” wants to be the new “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” a film about an uptight geek being shown the night of his life by the girl of his dreams. Instead of a rebellious male slacker we have a hot girl who takes our resident geek on all sorts of close calls with bullies, miscreants, and the encounters with his woefully unaware parents. They even go so far as to cast Alan Ruck as main character Denis’ father. What’s attempted to be passed off as courageous comes off as just plain rude as high school geek Denis makes a speech and confesses his love for the dreamy Beth Cooper, all the while spitting bile at class mates insulting them relentlessly. This is supposed to be brave, or one for the geeks, but really it’s just a blatant attempt to set up various plot devices as we know Denis will soon come face to face with these people eventually throughout the film.
Part road trip comedy, part coming of age dramedy, Chris Columbus’ teen flick is filled with nothing but vapid one dimensional teen characters, and absolutely pointless flashback sequences, all the while anxiously trying to invoke the best of John Hughes and failing quite painfully. Denis is a pathetic loser void of any redeeming qualities whose sexually ambiguous best friend goes along with his dream girl Beth and her two friends, after a disastrous party at his house. Hayden Panettiere would be the perfect dream girl if Beth Cooper was at all interesting or humanistic. When she’s not laughing at Denis’ injuries inflicted by her, or mocking him about his hygiene and clothes, she’s hitting him with cars, knocking him unconscious thanks to her bad driving, turning him in to a literal slave, and humiliating him in public, all of which Denis takes with a laugh.
She might have given him brain trauma, but it’s Beth Cooper, so Denis is okay with that. I kept wondering why anyone would like this girl at all. At one instance she tells him he smells like “A Dead Homeless Guy,” which sparks a laugh from Denis. My response would be “Go fuck yourself, shrew,” but hey, I don’t write for the movies. Somewhere down the road we’re force fed a mopey back story about her life and how she may never get in to a good college and will be a low class housewife. But by then it’s much too late, as Beth is a truly abusive and utterly horrendous character we have to believe is someone every guy would pine for. Writer Doyle horribly backpedals by trying to turn Beth in to a conflicted popular girl forced with obligations, but we’re never let in on her motivations or personality, so she’s nothing but a broad representation of everything wrong with this “comedy.” The only redeeming quality of this entire excruciating experience is that mid-way Denis realizes aloud “This is not the girl I thought I wanted.”
Which makes Beth mock him even more! Nevertheless this is the modern form of film culture comedy where the men are dorky, goofy, and played for utter torture regardless of their personality, while they endure abuse from girls with pleasant grins because they’re hot, so that makes it okay, somehow. After endlessly unfunny mishap after mishap, “I Love You, Beth Cooper” presents nothing but a hint of a potentially excellent dramedy that is turned in to a cruel and often creepy sex comedy that does nothing but consume our precious time and wish for movies that represents something true about the American teenager. In some dark twisted corner of the movie fandom, “I Love You, Beth Cooper” is a hilarious raucous realistic teen comedy, but on its surface it’s nothing but a painful, tedious, cruel, and mean spirited exercise in sadism that actually tries to transform child molestation in to a comedic bit. An honest to goodness comedic monologue. Go watch “Dazed and Confused,” go watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” watch anything but this!