When Denis (Rust), the geekiest guy in high school, proclaims his love for super-popular Beth Cooper (Panettiere), during his valedictorian speech, everyone is...well... speechless! But the real shock comes that night when Beth shows up at Denis’ house with her two best friends to show him how the cool kids party.
Director Chris Columbus (Home Alone, two Harry Potter films, Mrs. Doubtfire) has a way with the young folk. I Love You, Beth Cooper is a light, frothy high school romp that showcases teen angst and manages to deliver some real belly laughs. Hayden Panettiere, star of Heroes, has the time of her life as the title character, riffing on the stereotype of Popular Girl with Hidden Bad Streak. As her lovelorn would-be suitor, Denis, Paul Rust is both nerdy but pretty fearless in his acting and in his pratfalls. Denis decides to announce his long-held love for Beth from the podium as he delivers the high school valedictory speech. Beth, initially horrified, decides she can have some fun with Denis as a worshipful accessory. Along the way, each learns a little about who the other person really is--and yes, there are some "growth" moments. But the fun is in the vixen Beth and the dorky Denis interacting. Denis holds a pile of junk food in a convenience store as they shop, and Beth says, "Yum!" Denis rolls his eyes, saying, "My mom says 'yum.'" Beth, dripping with put-on seduction, replies, "Yuuuummmm." Denis: "Not like that." As a frothy teen comedy, I Love You, Beth Cooper goes to the head of the class. --A.T. Hurley
Stills from I Love You, Beth Cooper (Click for larger image)