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Soundtrack was released on December 9, 2003. See more »
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"Love doesn't cost a thing," except your dignity and maybe 100 minutes of your life
I'll be fair in saying that I didn't have high hopes for Troy Beyer's "Love Don't Cost A Thing," a movie that stars Nick Cannon and singer Christina Milian in an "urbanized" remake of the 1987 romantic comedy, "Can't Buy Me Love." Original "Can't Buy Me Love" scriptwriter Michael Swerdlick contributes to Beyer's remake script, which features Cannon and Milian in the roles of the geek and the beauty, two roles made famous in 1987 by Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Petersen.
Cannon plays Alvin Johnson a.k.a. "Pool Boy" (he gets his name because he cleans people's swimming pools) and Milian plays Paris Morgan, the most popular girl in school. Alvin is a bit of an automotive genius, if nothing else, since he's trying to win a scholarship to a tech school with the high-tech engine that he and his friends have constructed.
Alvin is tired of being made fun of by the popular kids and decides that he wants a piece of the action, but is unsure of where to search; his friends naturally think he's crazy for thinking up such a scheme. But he's not hearing that though, and he wants memories of their high school years.
He gets his chance when Paris crashes her mom's Cadillac Escalade and he offers to do the repairs. In return, however, she must pose as his girlfriend - for two weeks. Alvin and Paris of course face the strident scorn of the cool kids and pretty soon Alvin grows pretty attached to his newfound fame.
Without really realizing it, he forgets what he already had, being that he makes pariahs out of his best friends, frightens his parents especially the father (Steve Harvey) with his strange behavior, and Paris soon begins to miss the geeky Alvin that she really liked.
"Love Don't Cost A Thing" retreads the familiar territory of most of the high school comedies of yesteryear: the uncool guy gets the pretty girl - after his plan has been exposed - and everything gradually returns to normalcy, and tries to make amends with his friends that he forgot while on his path to glory.
For the first half, "Love" is actually quite fun to watch, and even it brought back memories of my high school career, which I left behind when I graduated in June of 2004.
The second half is where we run into trouble, not because of directing and poor scriptwriting or any other technical difficulties, but because Cannon's transformation seemed to be really... something. I'll be the first to admit that he does some pretty mean things to his friends and to Paris while on his ego trip of popularity; even this is too much and made a little too believable and for that I really despised Alvin for what he did.
Cannon and Milian are a great couple and have great chemistry, but I remembered where it's all going to lead eventually, which is in that same direction that most teen comedies go.
The biggest perk out of it all is that "Love" doesn't resort to gross-out humor and sex gags to really win the interest of the viewer, and for that I'm grateful. Other than that, there's not much else.
***NOTE*** There's one scene that never ceases to amaze me, and that's when Alvin first serves up his proposal to Paris. He makes his move, Paris asks what he wants in return. Alvin looks away, and out comes the priceless line, "Oh what? You think I'm some cheap 'ho?" Alvin of course replies, "No, no sex. I just want to rent you." Paris considers, and then agrees to being his girl. And she puts her foot down about him not thinking about sex, or looking at her booty. Priceless.
"Love Don't Cost A Thing" buys a 5/10
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