I Love You, Beth Cooper (15)

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The Independent Culture

Chris Columbus has been the directorial hand behind some dire movies – Home Alone, Nine Months, Stepmom – but he at least tries something slightly different here, with a script by Larry Doyle that almost tips into raunchiness.

On graduation day nerdy valedictorian Denis (Paul Rust) decides to go for broke and declares his unsuspected love for blonde cheerleader Beth (Hayden Panettiere), thus setting in motion a wild night of being chased round town by her neanderthal boyfriend and his mates.

The pace is oddly sluggish, the flashbacks are awkward, and most of the risque lines die a death, but there are two reasons to stay with it – Rust himself as the super-dweeb hero and Jack T Carpenter as his movie-quoting best friend, who rather sweetly insists that he's not gay. It's far from Peep Show, but it's probably the first Columbus movie I've emerged from not feeling utterly sick.