The next flick I’ll be reviewing is the 1987 teen comedy, “Can’t Buy Me Love”. I was inspired to watch this movie for three reasons- 1) The awesome 2010 contemporary teen flick, “Easy A”, which paid homage to the famous lawn mower ending scene, 2) the fact that it was referenced on “Community”, and 3) that it stars a young Patrick Dempsey, who I admit to having something of a crush on during his tenure as Doctor McSteamy on “Grey’s Anatomy”. So what better reason than to check this movie out? Well, maybe because it’s named after a Beatles song!
The premise: Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey) is just your average, stereotypical nerd who is ignored by the popular crowd despite being sweet, smart and witty. The object of his affection is spunky cheerleader Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson). When Cindy spills red wine down a rather costly coat of her mother’s, she frantically struggles to come up with the funds to replace it. Enter Ronald with a proposal: he’ll supply Cindy with the cash she needs from his lawn cutting business. Naturally, this comes with strings attached – in a bid to make himself popular, he wants to “rent” Cindy for a month, while masquerading as her boyfriend, after which they will mutually “break up”.
Cindy sees no other choice but to agree to the charade, and soon she’s sprucing up his wardrobe, giving him a whole new trendy look. However, while his popularity soars, it causes him to alienate his old pal, Kenneth (Courtney Gains), in favour of the preppy kids. Will Ron come to his senses in time? No prizes for guessing how this one will pan out…
While “Can’t Buy Me Love” is an ultimately enjoyable flick, it isn’t one of the more memorable movies of the 1980’s , but manages a to be a fun and formulaic teen comedy nonetheless. Some moments which I enjoyed include Cindy and Ron growing to understand each other better, the famous lawnmower ending and Ron making a surprisingly passionate speech to the geeks and the jocks over how they all used to hang out together, irregardless of social status.
Despite these positives, I found it difficult to sympathise with the lead characters, as for the majority of the running time, they were only preoccupied with their status at school. Even though it was inevitable that they would change their ways before too long, I found myself getting frustrated with both Cindy and Ron, wanting them to reach the same conclusion as I had minutes beforehand.
Patrick Dempsey is credible more as a geek than a wannabe cool kid to me, but he does what he can with his part. He has decent chemistry with Amanda Peterson, who is perhaps best known for this flick. Sadly, she died of an accidental drug overdose in July of this year. Watching this movie, it’s hard to believe that she was only 16 when it was made.
My general consensus of the film is that it’s an entertaining, yet predictable romp, which gets two and a half stars out of five from me. If you liked this, then check out the 2003 movie,”Love don’t Cost a Thing” which is a remake of this flick (and not the other way round, as “Community” would have you believe).