The title of the new film by actress-turned-director Troy Beyer claims that love don't cost a thing; apparently, the remake rights to the 1987 basic-cable staple Can't Buy Me Love didn't cost much, either. Set in one of those Los Angeles high schools where every lunchtime is an opening for impromptu dance numbers, the cheap-looking comedy Love Don't Cost A Thing stars The Nick Cannon Show heartthrob Nick Cannon as a loser who learns the social power of highly paid escorts when he pays popular girl Christina Milian to pose as his girlfriend. A pool-cleaning poindexter with a gift for automotive engineering, Cannon admires the popular class from afar before retreating to hang out with a gang of misfit friends that includes a suspiciously post-grad-looking Kenan Thompson. When Milian accidentally crashes her mother's car, however, Cannon seizes his chance for upward mobility by swapping parts and labor for a chance to sit at the cool kids' table. But will his newfound popularity be good for his soul? The movie's short answer is "no," but it keeps sending mixed signals, spending as much time fetishizing luxury goods and the clothing of Sean John (for whom the film essentially interrupts itself to deliver ads) as it spends illustrating the perils of popularity. Steve Harvey shows up for two awkward scenes illustrating the importance of condom use, and Beyer breaks the tedium with her annoying habit of putting her camera anywhere she sees fit, including the interior of a cabinet. But otherwise, this is teen product at its most generic. As for Cannon, a bright spot in last year's otherwise-tedious Drumline, he's out of his league here. Unconvincing as a misfit and repellant as a playa, he never makes his character's journey to assholedom and back the least bit convincing. Whether he'll someday be successful in his bid to become his generation's Patrick Dempsey remains to be seen.

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