I was stunned to learn that "Beth Cooper" was created by actual filmmaking veterans. The screenplay was adapted by former "Simpsons" writer Larry Doyle from his well-liked young-adult novel, and the film was directed by "Gremlins" writer and "Harry Potter" helmer Chris Columbus.
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Mostly, I was stunned because rarely have two seasoned Hollywood professionals produced something so painfully, amateurishly and relentlessly unfunny. Every single one-liner and bit of comic business falls flat, and it's all the more painful because the film is edited with pauses for nonexistent laughter.
Panettiere has nothing to do here but look cocky or wild or cute or sad and yell "Woo! As written, Beth is a cipher, something to put on a pedestal -- manic pixie dream trash. She's also a reckless and very likely drunk driver, but the movie seems to regard this as a charming personality quirk. Jack T. Carpenter hints at genuine comic charisma as Denis' movie-mad and possibly gay best friend, but he's dog-paddling against the raging tide of foolishness generated by the directorial, screenwriting and editing departments.
But I have another issue with the movie, and it's this: Denis embodies a rom-com fantasy that I've come to regard as not only false, but actually sort of dangerous. Denis -- our yearning-nerd hero -- is a weak, nebbishy, one-dimensional stalker.
I hate you, 'Beth Cooper' - hiqukycona.tk
He's pasted a giant photo of Beth above his bed for the usual reasons. Beth sees this photo and shrugs it off as mildly offbeat teen-boy behavior, BTW. Throughout the movie, Denis does little more than whimper and plead and hesitate and whine. Not only does he survive, but he is able to laugh it off.
Using characters as human crash dummies is not exactly the height of comic inspiration, especially in a movie that is pushing sweetness over sinew. Doyle has been a writer and a producer for " The Simpsons " and written some very funny humor pieces for The New Yorker. He must be the main reason this film is better than it has any right to be.
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Whenever "Beth Cooper" is in "Mean Girls" mode, whenever it resorts to standard-issue beer blast hijinks, it's routine and derivative. And Panettiere, from TV's "Heroes," is rather vapid — as opposed to playing vapid. But Rust and Carpenter work extremely well together, and Doyle has supplied them with some wonderful byplay. One of the film's running gags — that Rich is gay but won't admit, even to himself, what everybody knows — is uncommonly heartfelt because of the way the actors handle the situation.
In most movies you have to take for granted that the buddies really are buddies. Not here. Rust, in particular, is a real find. In his first starring role, he shows off the crack timing of a seasoned pro. Although he's a smitten geek, Denis is also a Stanford-bound premed whose head, Beth aside, is screwed on pretty straight.
I hate you, 'Beth Cooper'
He's a go-getter. If Rust reminds you a bit of the young Woody Allen , it's because Allen, despite his dweeby, goofy veneer, was a go-getter, too — a rascal. It's too bad "Beth Cooper" isn't even better. Doyle dumbs down his wit in a way he wouldn't do for, say, The New Yorker. With a little more tang and integrity, this film might have been another "Say Anything. Grade: B Rated PG for crude and sexual content, language, some teen drinking and drug references, and brief violence.
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