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I Love You, Beth Cooper (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 3, 2009 by  



The film has its share of fun moments but somehow the screenplay adaptation forgot about its main character and ends up giving the most entertaining parts of the film to the best friend.  I had high hopes since it was directed by Chris Columbus (“Home Alone” and “Harry Potter” films) but in the end “I Love You, Beth Cooper” may not be a classic teenage graduation night type of film but it does make for a good popcorn flick or a film for diehard Hayden Panettiere fans.

TITLE: I Love You, Beth Cooper

DURATION: 102 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (Widescreen 1:85:1), 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 Spanish, Portuguese and French, AVC@33MBPS, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese

RATED: PG-13 (Crude and Sexual Content, Language, Some Teen Drinking and Drug Reference and Brief Violence)

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: November 3, 2009

Directed by Chris Columbus

Based on a story by Larry Doyle

Screenplay by Larry Doyle

Executive Producer: Jennifer Blum and Michael Flynn

Producer: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe

Music by Christophe Beck

Cinematography by Phil Abraham

Edited by Peter Honess

Production Design by Sandi Tanaka

Set Decoration by Mary-Lou Storey

Costume Design by Karen L. Matthews

Starring:

Hayden Panettiere as Beth Cooper

Paul Rust as Denis Cooverman

Jack Carpenter as Rich Munsch

Lauren London as Cammy Alcott

Lauren Storm as Treece Kilmer

Shawn Roberts as Kevin

Jared Keeso as Dustin

Brendan Penny as Sean

Marie Avgeropoulos as Vali Wooley

Josh Emerson as Greg Saloga

Alan Ruck as Mr. Cooverman

Cynthia Stevenson as Mrs. Cooverman

Pat Finn as Coach Raupp

Andrea Savage as Dr. Gleason

A quiet, reserved teen experiences a wild night to remember in I Love You, Beth Cooper, arriving on Blu-ray Disc (BD) and DVD November 3 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Chris Columbus (Home Alone films) and starring hot Hollywood sensation Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) in the title role, the film is based on a novel written by Emmy Award-winner* Larry Doyle (“The Simpsons”). When Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust; Semi-Pro), the geekiest guy in high school, proclaims his love for super-popular Beth Cooper 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. You’ll LOL as Denis tries to keep up with Beth — and stay away from her maniacal ex-boyfriend Kevin and his ticked-off pals. Plus, watch Denis and Beth take their hilarious relationship to a whole new level with the outrageous alternate ending you didn’t see in theaters!

Just another teenage graduation night film?  Or something much better?

“I Love You, Beth Cooper” was a film that debuted back in the Summer of 2009 and is based on a 2007 novel by writer Larry Doyle (“The Simpsons”, “Beavis and Butthead”).  With a screenplay adaptation from the novel by Doyle, the film would be directed by Chris Columbus (“Mrs. Doubtfire”, the first two “Home Alone” and “Harry Potter” films), music composed by Christophe Beck (“The Pink Panther 2”, “We Are Marshall”, “Elektra”) and cinematography by Phil Abraham (“Mad Men”, “The Sopranos”).

Larry Doyle has mentioned that his inspiration for the story was films like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club” and his take on graduation night and the adventures of five teenagers.

The film revolves around Denis Cooverman (played by Paul Rust, “Semi-Pro”, “Inglourious Basterds”), a valedictorian at his high school who is planning to go to college at Stanford University.  A smart student, he has his life going for him.  But if there was one thing that he regrets, it’s the fact that he has always had a crush on Beth Cooper.

He hangs out with his best friend Rich Munsch (played by Jack Carpenter, “The Return of Jezebel James”, “The Journal”) who gives him a pep talk that because it’s graduation day, if he has things to get off his chest, let it out with no regrets.  Tell Beth Cooper how he feels and  for Denis, this stays in his head but instead of telling her face-to-face, he figured why not tell her on graduation day during his valedictorian speech.

As he gives his speech and talks about living life with no regrets, in front of everyone at the graduation, he tells the popular cheerleader Beth Cooper (played by Hayden Panettiere, “Heroes”, “Shanghai Kiss”, “Malcolm in the Middle”) that he loves her and how he has always loved her.  But somehow along the way, his speech starts to go downhill as he takes a swipe on fellow students such as his his best friend, Rich (who he tries to give a hint that its time to come out of the closet), a swipe at the school bully that has tormented him throughout their school years,  a hint to the girls who has an eating disorder, a swipe that men shouldn’t be dating high school students (a dig at Beth Cooper’s boyfriend Kevin, who is played by Shawn Roberts) and a dig on a popular but yet shallow student.  Of course, no names are being said but high school students start to judge who may be the person Denis is referring to and thus changes the jovial graduation to a graduation full of discomfort and confusion.  Needless to say, students who think Denis was talking about them, give him the stare of death after the graduation day.

Denis doesn’t realize the severity of what he has done but for Beth Cooper, she was very much appreciative of what he had to say, although her military boyfriend Kevin is not and really wants to beat Denis up.

Fortunately, this causes problems between Beth and Kevin and sure enough, Denis is able to get her to possibly come to party he is hosting at his house.

Since Denis and Rich are not exactly popular students and very much are nerds, his parents (played by Alan Ruck and Cynthia Stevenson) leave the house for some R&R and hope their son has a great party. Of course, during a man-to-man talk with Denis and his father, his father tells him and Rich that if needed, there are condoms in the drawer of his bedroom.  Of course, Denis is happy his dad is giving his blessing to get lucky tonight while Rich wonders if the condoms are meant to be used on each other (furthering Denis’s feelings that his friend is gay).

So, while the two wonder if anyone is going to come to their party, Beth Cooper and her two popular cheerleading friends Cammy Alcott (played by Lauren London, “90210”) and the bubbly yet not-so-smart Treece (played by Lauren Storm, “Flight 29 Down”, “The Game Plan”) come to the party.  With no one else coming, both Denis and Rich try to entertain the ladies but meanwhile, Beth tries to make her ex-boyfriend Kevin jealous by telling him that she’s spending her time with Denis.

Next thing you know, Beth’s ex-boyfriend Kevin and two of his military friends go to Denis’s home and so livid that his girlfriend is spending time at Denis’s house, they start trashing the place, while Kevin’s mission  is to literally beat up on him.

Denis tries to fight and defend himself and of course, it leads to nothing and thus both he and Rich end up escaping the house through the window and falling to the ground.   After sustaining some injuries, the two manage to join Beth Cooper and friends on an adventurous graduation night which leads them to bare Beth’s bad driving,  buying beer at a convenience store, going to a farm  to tip cows, going to a graduation night party where a lot of the high school kids are at and avoiding destruction on the roadway while trying to have a good graduation night and for the most part, to be out of the way of Kevin and his friends.

But through the night, Denis who feels that he knows everything about Beth Cooper starts to see a side of her that he has never seen before.  A good side but also a bad side.

Will Denis survive the night and will Beth Cooper get to know the real him?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“I Love You, Beth Cooper” is presented in 1080p High Definition (AVC@33MBPS).  For the most part, picture quality is pretty good as the film is featured in the sunlight.  But the film pretty much takes place during the night.  During the day, colors are vibrant, during the evening the blacks are nice and deep and I saw no visual artifacts or banding.

For the most part, the film looks very good.  But to tell you the truth, I didn’t notice too many details that stood out.  The truth is that there are not exactly a lot of memorable scenes as most of the action takes place inside Denis’s home or inside Beth’s car.  Seeing the scabs or blood all over Denis’s face is something I wasn’t really trying to look for detail but if there was one scene that stood out, it was a breathtaking scene overlooking the lake and mountains near the end of the film.  Picture quality is good for the film on HD.

As for the audio, audio is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (also in Spanish, Portuguese and French 5.1 Dolby Digital).  The film is primarily a dialogue and music driven film and are front and center channel driven.  There are some scenes that utilize the surrounds such as crowds heard or the various crashing of cars or during the more action-based scenes.  Probably one scene where you get the most action is when Beth Cooper literally crashes to a home where party is being held. But for the most part, the film is literally more about the dialogue and the music and the lossless audio definitely showcases the modern music of this film.

Subtitles are featured in English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese and Cantonese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“I Love You, Beth Cooper” comes with the following special features:

  • Alternate Ending – (6:59) An alternate ending which features Kevin and his friends making one more encounter with Denis.  An ironic ending but personally, I’m glad that they didn’t use this ending.
  • Deleted Scenes – (7:36) Featuring four deleted scenes: The Graduate, College Worthy Handyman, Beth Digs for Buried Treasure, Beth Remembers a Cooverman Moment.
  • I Love You, Larry Doyle – (5:52) Novel/screenwriter Larry Doyle talks about the book and the film adaptation and how films like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club” inspired him.
  • We Are All Different, But That’s a Good Thing – (8:53) A featurette focusing on the cast talking about the characters they play and the great dynamics that the characters have.  The talent talk about how they enjoyed working with Hayden Panettiere and director Chris Columbus.
  • Peanut Butter Toast – (2:48) Paul Rust singing an improvised song about “peanut butter toast”.
  • Fox Movie Channel Presents In Character with Paul Rust – (3:01) Fox Movie Channel presents Paul Rust talking about the movie and his character.
  • Fox Movie Channel Presents In Character with Hayden Panettiere– (3:01) Fox Movie Channel presents Hayden Panettiere talking about the movie and her character.
  • Trailers – Trailers for “My Life In Ruins”, “Adam”, “Fame” and “The Marine 2”.

“I Love You, Beth Cooper” was like a mashup of my favorite teen/young adult films that I have enjoyed in the past and present.  A little bit of “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Say Anything”, “American Pie”, “Superbad”, “Go”, “Nick and Norah’s Playlist” to name a few.  With each of those films, there is a sort of redemption with the characters or some type of happy ending.  I suppose you can say that with this film, “I Love You, Beth Cooper”, it’s more like a one night stand that really doesn’t go anywhere after that.  I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps there were major differences between the novel and the film version.

As for the main characters, it’s not that they are unlikeable but Denis and Rich are your stereotypical nerds and with this storyline, you sort of think that this film would predictable in that the nerd gets the hot girl at the end or meets some success, whether redemption against the bully or possibly even getting a new girlfriend.

If anything, for most teen films or similar style of films, the main nerd characters always gets the better end of the deal at the end of the film but in this case, I felt that redemption was given to the Denis’s best friend Rich (who is just a supporting character) and he gets to have all the fun at the end and somehow, that just didn’t seem right to me.  Somehow the main character, Denis Cooverman gets lots in the shuffle and by watching this film, you can’t help but feel sorry for him.  He literally becomes the human punching bag and you wish for that “3:00 High” moment of redemption of where he would defend himself.  It’s important to note that there is an alternate ending included on the Blu-ray via the special features where Denis does get that redemption but unfortunately, the final cut chose not to go that direction.

“I Love You, Beth Cooper”  is not a bad film nor is it a spectacular teen film.  But  I’ll admit, I did enjoy it.  I enjoyed the nightly adventures by the five characters (granted, it helps if you had a wild experience during your graduation night) and the crazy adventures they endured throughout the day and night.   There are some comedic moments courtesy of the character of Rich and Treece.

And fortunately there are some shining moments with Paul Rust as the main character of Denis.  If anything, he is a good hearted guy.  Nerdy..but a good-hearted guy who is not all that good with talking to girls. Rust captures that feel of the character and that awkward nerdiness.  Hayden Panettiere is very good at playing the popular cheerleader who likes to have fun and party but also likes to have some danger in her life (sounds similar to her “Heroes” counterpart but really, it’s not).  And it was great to see Alan Ruck as Denis’s father in the film, 23-years later after taking part in his own successful, teen adventure film as the best friend in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.

But it’s that one scene that was changed in the film from the novel (the convenience store scene) between Denis and Beth Cooper that was so important but in order to not get the R rating and keep it at PG-13,  I felt would have really made sense to the audience of why Rust’s character starts to see things differently with Beth Cooper.  In my opinion, that was one scene critical to the novel that brings a turning point to the storyline.  So, it’s unfortunate that version of that one scene was not used.

Overall, “I Love You, Beth Cooper” is an entertaining teenage graduation night film but nowhere near being classic.

At the end of the day, you can see how Chris Columbus and even Larry Doyle tried to bring that John Hughes style to the film.  But Hughes was a master in character development and knew how to take those characters to the craziest and more touching moments of the film.  We see the adventure, we just don’t feel captivated by the characters.  Again, the film has its share of fun moments but it’s the final payoff that you expect from these type of films is what is lacking from “I Love You, Beth Cooper”.   In the end, “I Love You, Beth Cooper” is a fun popcorn flick but nothing more than that.






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