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Love Don't Cost a Thing
2003 - PG-13 - 100 Mins.
Director: Troy Beyer
Producer: Mark Burg, Reuben Cannon, Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove
Written By: Troy Beyer and Michael Swerdlick
Starring: Nick Cannon, Christina Milian, Steve Harvey, Kal Penn and Al Thompson
Review by: Bill King

Son, I have bad news. The Chippendales just turned down your job application.
"Love Don't Cost a Thing" is the most unpleasant experience I've had at the movies in a long time. This pathetic excuse for entertainment, penned by Troy Beyer and Michael Swerdlick, is rotten to the core. In a move that will baffle me for years, someone decided that a remake of the 1987 film "Can't Buy Me Love" might find an audience in today's world. Maybe it would have, if it were written with any honesty or wit. What Beyer did instead was include an extremely detestable main character, absurd plot developments and sappy ineptitude.

Alvin Johnson (Nick Cannon) is an unpopular student, but he's smart. He has a bright future in the automotive industry, and he and his friends are excited over the new car they're putting together. When Paris Morgan (Christina Milian), a popular cheerleader, pulls into his shop with a fender bender, he offers to fix the vehicle if she'll date him for two weeks. She reluctantly agrees. He hopes this plan will make him acceptable by the upper echelon of high school students.

The hallways of this high school are governed by some strange rules of segregation. All the cool students have lockers in one section of the school, while the uncool kids have lockers elsewhere. It's a fact that schools assign lockers. Students don't pick them. How did the cool kids gets lockers in the same hallway? My high school grouped students according to grade, and not by social status. Whatever the case may be, when Alvin finally strolls through this previously off-limits territory, he gains confidence and cockiness. He dismisses his former friends in favor of his new ones.

Alvin undergoes a hideous transformation. He goes from intelligent student to pompous ingrate in almost no time at all. He struts through the halls like some kind of egotistical homeboy. His attitude, reflective of a gangster rapper wannabe, becomes a nauseous experience to endure. When he plans to "breakup" with Paris, his choice of words are so cruel and hurtful that I knew right away that his movie could do nothing to redeem itself.

The lesson Alvin learns is that he must have confidence in himself, and that being part of the in-crowd isn't always as attractive as it may seem. How considerate of Troy Beyer to enlighten us. I've seen this message before, all played to a similar plot outline ("The Heavenly Kid," anyone?), but what makes "Love Don't Cost a Thing" so unbearable is the execution of Alvin's metamorphosis. Yes, he's required to be thick-headed, so that he can lose his friends and regain them later when he wises up, but what I found shocking was the extent of his behavior. Every time he walks on screen, he sways his arms back and forth, walks as if he has rocks in his shoes, wears tasteless clothes and speaks slang with an incomprehensible slur. ("It's time to fizzle my tha-dizzle," or some garbage like that.)

I have nothing inherently against movies made for mass audience consumption, so long as they are watchable in some capacity, (I admit it, I liked Britney Spears' "Crossroads"), but "Love Don't Cost a Thing" is really atrocious.
Movie Guru Rating
Offensive and completely without value.  Should never have been released.
  0 out of 5 stars

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