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Ronald Miller is tired of being a nerd, and makes a deal with one of the most popular girls in school to help him break into the "cool" clique. He offers her a thousand dollars to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month. It succeeds, but he soon learns that the price of popularity may be higher than he expected.Written by
Kevin Ackley <email@example.com>
Most 80's teen flicks leave a rather sick feeling in my stomach, but this one has always been a favorite despite the stereotypical shallow, big-haired girls and the Animal House wanna-be jocks. The difference is that the stars, Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson, are not so stereotypical in their roles as lonely nerd and ultra-popular head cheerleader.
Patrick Dempsey has always been underrated as an actor with style, and it is unfortunate that his character, Ronald, is so unlikable after the film's premise kicks in. Ronald goes "from geek to chic" and back again. But Dempsey himself seems too inherently confident to really pull off the geek aspect believably, and he's too cruel to the girl whose heart he won for Ronald to be a truly sympathetic character. The hip version of Ronald, however, is a hoot to watch, even if it is somewhat overdone in the context of an already unlikely plot.
The standout in this film is Amanda Peterson, whose character Cindy has to be one of the most genuinely likeable "stuck up" high school girls on film. Watching her character grow and open her heart to Ronald is the main reason I've given this film repeated viewings. Although the genres are quite different, I'd compare Peterson's character to Renee Zellweger's character in Jerry MaGuire in terms of sheer likability. Making characters likeable is much more difficult than making them sympathetic, and I'm frankly shocked that Peterson's career did not skyrocket after this performance.
Whether you're looking for creative ways to invest $1000 or dancing lessons, Can't Buy Me Love is one 80's teen flick that has a lot to offer.
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