- Movie Rating -

Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)

| August 14, 1987

Can’t Buy Me Love is not a John Hughes movie but – boy howdy! – do these filmmakers wish it were.  It’s got all the framework of a Hughes movie but without the characters, the motivations, the heart, the ideas, the wit or the intelligence.  Director Steve Rash tries his damnedest to wrench some kind of human vapor out of this stupid script and ends up with one of most insipid and venal films that I think I’ve ever seen.

It seems to be a story of a high school dork in love with a pretty cheerleader.  Okay, that’s not such a bad thing but the movie then moves it through a very seamy plot in which dork Ronald (Patrick Demsey) saves up his lawn-cutting money and buys a month-long relationship with Cindy (Amanda Peterson).  By no real logic, she agrees because he is offering $1,000 and she wants a new suede suit to replace the one belonging to her mother that she trashed as a party.

I would like to tell you that everyone involved with the arrangement comes to their senses and there’s a moral lesson here.  But no, the level of this plot is just as shallow and materialistic as it sounds.  And yeah, Cindy is being asked to sell herself for money – if no her body then certainly her dignity.  Ronald has this bizarre theory that if he is seen with Cindy that he will automatically lose his dorko status and become popular.  Not that it should really matter to their classmates who are seen as vacuous snobs, nor to their parents who seem to live lives completely separate from their children.

I kept waiting for the saterical bend to occur.  I kept waiting for someone to point out the insanity of this plot.  But no, this movie commits to this materialistic nonsense full-bore and it makes the characters into shallow pigs and the actors look just plain foolish for going along with it.  And what does it say of the filmmakers?  Where are they drawing this inspiration from?  I sincerely hope they’re not drawing it from real life.  That’s even creepier than the plot.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy