Though it looks bright and the young actors have a couple of sweet moments, the picture is almost unremittingly punishing, hammering home its "be yourself" message with all the gentle persuasiveness of a Marine drill sergeant.
The director has a feel for this shopping-with-Mummy's- plastic milieu, but the theme of peer group pressure and the almost universal human need for acceptance is compromised by a script of very Californian piety. Otherwise a slight but not unenjoyable movie.
Unfortunately, Can't Buy Me Love is not particularly funny. Rash is so concerned with exploring the abhorrent high school caste system - making a teen comedy with a conscience - that the story ultimately becomes leaden and pedantic. Add to this the movie's predictability at every turn, including an ever-so-tidy conclusion, and you end up with something that's little more than a nice try. [14 Aug 1987, p.3D]
A John Hughes movie without Pretty in Pink director John Hughes, sure makes you appreciate the teens' auteur. Frankly, Steve Rash, who directs this copycat comedy, another nerd-gets-the-cheerleader romance, isn't fit to wear Hughes' hightops. Rash only tinkers with adolescent angst, without the progenitor's empathy for his audience.
Can't Buy Me Love makes American teenagers look like stupid and materialistic twits. That would be all right if the movie were aware of itself and knew what it was doing - if it were a satirical comment on our society. But this movie is as naive as the day is long. It doesn't have a thought in its head and probably no notion of the corruption at its core.