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Love Don't Cost A Thing

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Love Don't Cost A Thing

Starring: Nick Cannon, Christina Milian
Director: Troy Beyer
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: December 2003
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Steve Harvey, Al Thompson, Kal Penn, Kenan Thompson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Melissa Schuman, Kevin Christy, Russell Howard

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

With jaw-dropping beauty, Christina Milian electrifies the screen in LOVE DON'T COST A THING, a remake of 1987's Can't Buy Me Love. Nick Cannon (DRUMLINE) plays a geeky loser who becomes her new boyfriend -- but only for two weeks. Cannon is hilarious as a skinny and awkward guy with no social graces and the world's worst Afro. Their movie together is a good-spirited charmer that will tickle your funny bone and thoroughly entertain you.

As the story starts, Alvin Johnson (Cannon), who works as a "pool boy," and his nerdy, automotive engineering buddies are invisible at their high school. The cool kids ignore them, and poor Alvin, a senior in his last semester, has never even had the courage to ask a girl out on a date. Circumstances conspire to present him with the opportunity of his young lifetime. Spending the money he had been saving for the car that he and his buddies are building, he instead uses the cash to fix the family SUV that Paris Morgan (Milian) wrecked. In return, he negotiates a two week relationship with her on the understanding that no sex will be involved. He sees her, a short, sexy cheerleader, only as his ticket to popularity, and she sees him, a walking disaster, only as a way to hide the accident from her mom. As you can probably guess, he becomes the coolest guy in school, and she grows rather fond of him. His friends, however, don't appreciate being isolated from their old buddy. Yes, the film is pure formula, but it's done so cutely.

Although the superb performance of two leads alone is more than enough to be able to recommend the picture, the supporting cast is quite good as well. The scene stealer of the film's second string is Steve Harvey, who plays Alvin's 8-track dad, Clarence. Basically a variation on Jim's Dad (Eugene Levy) from the AMERICAN PIE series, Clarence, with his toothy, enthusiastic smiles, has non-stop advice for his son in his son's first outing with the ladies. "Ain't no woman born who can resist the motion of the ocean," he tells his son who falls clumsily on his parents' waterbed during the first big advice scene. Clarence's lecture on the pros and cons of various brands and types of condoms completely embarrasses his son, who looks ready to bolt for the door as soon as his dad takes a breath.

When this funny and sweet story follows the predictable arc to its conclusion, the result is surprisingly touching. Let's just hope that singer Milian gets offered more scripts to develop her considerable acting talents. She's a charmer with a great and natural rapport with the camera and the audience. LOVE DON'T COST A THING may not be the highest profile movie of the month, but it sure makes for a fun time at the movies.

LOVE DON'T COST A THING runs 1:35. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content/humor" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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