So there are these two high school dudes, right, and though they're seniors, they're so aggressively geeky and socially inept that losing their virginity doesn't even seem like a real-world prospect. But before they leave for college, they have the opportunity to have one last craaaaazy night of adventure that could well culminate in getting laid – in addition to drunk, beaten up, and/or arrested.
Wait: have you heard this one before? You could be forgiven for thinking – or at least hoping – that Superbad was the last word on this subject. But like it or not, here comes I Love You Beth Cooper, adapted by Simpsons vet Larry Doyle from his own novel and directed by that stalwart of the bland and inoffensive, Chris Columbus.
The book reads, indeed, like Superbad by a Simpsons writer: hyperactive, incessantly self-referential, with occasional bursts of sincerity in an attempt to give the proceedings some emotional heft. It's often very funny, though usually due to an oddball choice of words by Doyle rather than anything situational. ("This is... odd," he she-grunted.") Where Superbad balanced out the raunch with a disarming sweetness, Beth Cooper goes for a sort of detached, intellectual cool, obviously sympathizing with its besotted protagonist (Doyle claims that "Denis Cooverman" is inspired by his own high school experience) but also taking not-inconsiderable joy in pounding him into the dirt. Mileage may vary; I can see how this approach would seem insufferable to some.