Can't Buy Me Love

1987, Movie, PG-13, 94 mins

Review

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Originally titled "Boy Rents Girl," this teen comedy from the John Hughes school is part love story, part morality play, and only partly successful. Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey) is a nerdish high schooler who longs for a memorable senior year. A summer of mowing lawns has earned Ronald $1,500, which he plans to use to buy a telescope, though what he most longs for is Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson), the unattainable blonde beauty next door who also happens to be the queen of the "cool" kids. Cindy doesn't know Ronald exists until she ruins a suede outfit her mother had forbidden her to borrow. Ronald offers to give her $1,000--the price of a replacement outfit--if she will be seen with him for one month. Cindy agrees and a transformation begins. The basic premise of CAN'T BUY ME LOVE is engaging, and its theme of self-acceptance in the capricious world of high school hits its mark, though it is driven home with hamfisted didacticism. Director Steve Rash and first-time screenwriter Michael Swerdlick are most successful with their lead characters, who turn in fine performances. The problem with CAN'T BUY ME LOVE is that too often characters do and say things teenagers wouldn't. At times this is a funny, touching film, but more often it isn't. leave a comment

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