Director: Steve Rash
Written by Michael Swerdlick
Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Tina Caspary, Darcy DeMoss, Cort McCown and Seth Green
Naming a film after a Beatles song is bold. Playing that same Beatles song in full to open the film is bolder. Once that’s out of the way the actual film better stand up. With Can’t Buy Me Love from 1987, it doesn’t.
Ronald (Patrick Dempsey, Grey’s Anatomy) is a social outcast who has his eyes set on Cindy (Amanda Peterson), the popular cheerleader at school. After Cindy’s outfit is ruined, Ronald offers her $1000 to pretend that she’s dating him for a month. This is all in a bid to join the popular group at school, Cindy accepts thinking it won’t work. Ronald gets a taste of a better life and lets it go straight to his head.
The concept could be good. There could be some fun and comedy about trying to keep up the pretence of a relationship. Cindy not wanting others to see her with him. Ronald’s other outcast friends being jealous maybe trying it themselves. What we get isn’t fun. Their fake relationship month lasts about half an hour, and we then have almost an hour of Ronald with his new popularity just being rude and obnoxious.
Ronald and Cindy connect during that month, and she doesn’t want their relationship to end, but he breaks up with her anyway. Instead of realising what he’s done he moves from girl to girl, rejecting his earlier friends and acting out in the worst way possible. He becomes something he should despise.
The whole film, apart from one scene at the dance is void of humour. It’s a comedy where you can’t even tell where the jokes are supposed to be most of the time. It’s cringy, boring and a real waste of time watching it. The performances are also poor, making the film really drag.
The worst thing about the film is that despite how bad of person Ronald becomes, he doesn’t suffer long. After he loses everything towards the end; he still gets a happy ending. It’s frustrating because you want him to suffer. If the ending broke the mould and he ended up alone with no friends, then it would have at least had some originality, instead it’s a cliched mess.
Can’t Buy Me Love is simply an insult to the song. The film was originally called Boy Rents Girl which is a better title and gives no chance of unsuspecting victims accidentally clicking on it while browsing Disney Plus thinking it would be a fun little comedy. Watching this is scarier than most horror films, purely because it’s 100ish minutes you will never get back.