The only reason I went to see I Love You, Beth Cooper was because I had read the novel by Larry Doyle on the plane on my way back from Europe. The book was pretty funny, and since the film had just opened, I was curious to see how it had turned out. I was particularly interested because Larry Doyle, who used to write for The Simpsons, adapted his own book and wrote the screenplay, so I wondered how truthful to his own work he had been.
I would say that the movie definitely captures the spirit of the book, and that it hits the same beats and tells the same story. A couple of things were toned down in the movie (how Beth manages to buy beer, what she does right at the end underneath the moon --a sunrise in the film), but for the most part, the screenplay followed the book down to a T. I think the book was funnier, though, but that is because most of the laughs from the book come not from what happens, but from the way what happens is told to the reader. That, of course, is lost in the film, since there is no narrator helping you create a mental picture because there are real moving pictures in front of you. And that was what I was the most curious about: to see how Doyle compensated for the loss of the hilarious narrator.
Some of the few things he changed were used to strengthen the comedic moments, such as Beth's car hitting Denis instead of Kevin, or to give the supporting characters a moment to shine, like Rich and the wet towels. But overall, Doyle was incredibly faithful to the source material and the spirit of it.
I thought the actors were well cast, and Paul Rust was great as Denis Cooverman, and the incredibly hot Hayden Panettiere did a wonderful job as Beth Cooper, the head cheerleader who turns out not to be as perfect as Denis had always envisioned her. Lauren London and Lauren Storm were also good choices for Beth's two friends, Cammy and Treece, and Jack Carpenter as Rich was also an inspired choice.
So I liked the movie, but it is by no means award-winning material, so don't expect a sweeping epic that would score dozens of Oscar nominations. Like the book, ILYBC is a small, quirky story about high school kids, and how one crazy night can change your life. Or not.