Love Don’t Cost a Thing: A TERRIBLE movie

love dont cost

This movie…ugh. Who asked for this to be made?


Alvin Johnson (Cannon) is a nerdy high school senior who’s brilliant at school & fixing cars, dreams of being popular and getting with the most popular girl in school, Paris Morgan. When she crashes her mom’s car, he gets his chance by offering to fix it for $1,500 if she agrees to pretend to date him for 2 weeks. Throughout the process, he eventually gets attention from people in a much different light (including his father (Steve Harvey), who wants him to get jiggy with it) and starts gaining a popularity. This popularity gives him the confidence he always wanted, and of course the big head. Eventually both must come to terms with who they really are, who they want to be, and…yeah you know. All that stuff.

This is a 2003 remake of the 1987 film Can’t Buy Me Love starring Patrick Dempsey. This movie was noted by others as having a certain charm for the high school characters as they lesson about being true to themselves, despite the different “worlds” they live in (popular vs. nerds). For some reason, someone thought it’d be a great idea to give black audiences their own version. (This was done often…and is another topic I want to tackle later.) Of course, we know that like sequels, remakes are a big risk. But was this one done well for being a movie on its’ own? Well…no. Not at ALL. (heavy sigh)


  1. Steve Harvey– I love this guy’s work, and he tries SO hard to make this movie work when he’s on screen. Sadly, I’m just left wanting Steve Harvey standup for actual comedy. And at least the condom scene wasn’t AS bad as it could’ve been if it was any other actor. But he’s just not enough to save this movie. I will say, though, that his final scene with Nick Cannon as they both learn a lesson is good acting on his part and well done.

  2. …At least it wasn’t Movie 43?

steve harvey


  1. The Dialogue – Who talks like this?! The “bullies'” dialogue is super unrealistic. The nerd dialogue sucks too. The 2000s definitely didn’t understand high schoolers. It’s really sad that black films had so much definitive lingo that does not hold up nowadays.

  2. References – Lil’ Kim, Phat Farm, Barry White, Russell Simmons – so much name dropping and product placement.  SO MUCH PRODUCT PLACEMENT. Seriously, if I was Sean Jean, I’d sue for how much my material was used & obsessed over in this tank of a movie. Is this what we were into during the 2000s?

    1. Seriously – We know each decade has it’s own things that make it that decade. Think about what made the 90s (Fresh Prince covers it all for me). Think about what made the 80s. Now watch this film and realize it embodies the first decade of the 2000s. Now cry a little with me.

  3. The Premise Doesn’t Feel Natural. It feels more forced than it’s supposed to. We’re obviously supposed to block some of our suspension of disbelief when he asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend, but here it looks and feels too unnatural and out of nowhere. We’re more on Paris Morgan’s side when he brings it up.

  4. Age Issues – You have college-aged actors pretending to be high schoolers acting like middle schoolers. Absolutely nothing is genuine. Really, the nerds & “popular” kids are in that polar of “worlds” that the big problem is the nerds sitting in their section? If the actors weren’t in their 20s, this might have…oh whatever. The issue here is (you guessed it:) sloppy writing. Maybe if this film was done with younger people, it could be shown in a middle school as how not to misguide your self-esteem.

  5. This school is just not real. At all. Nothing about it is realistic, and even the unrealistic school we’re looking at isn’t entertaining in the slightest.

  6. Bad Character Development – Other than Kenan Thompson getting a couple good lines, none of these characters are developed too well, nor are they made to feel like people we can relate to. Steve Harvey might be the exception for some fathers. Cannon’s character is most relatable to a middle schooler – and I don’t think that’s a marketable enough demographic of people who definitely saw this movie.

  7. The Terrible Timeline – I have to believe that the montage where she dressed him in Sean Jean transformed him into a jerk in one day. He all of a sudden went from being an innocent, nice guy to being a pimped-out, smooth-talking jerk in just hours.

    1. By the way, who paid for those clothes? Neither of them have any money!

  8. No one trying to be cool acts the way Nick Cannon does. No one. I really want to know who trained him to do that “trying to act like a nerd” act. His ‘cool guy’ act is almost a very exaggerated version of Steve Harvey’s character as a young man, so I could say that this is more believable. However, it just made me daydream about if Kenan Thompson had played Harvey’s son instead and gotten into his Harvey impression. But SNL has given us enough of those. I digress…Cannon’s nerdiness is UNCOMFORTABLY awkward. Not charming. Do YOU know any HS seniors that hide in trees when people make fun of them?

  9. The little sister is annoying. But in an unnatural way. I have 3 younger siblings, and I know what they sound like when they want to be annoying. This chick was cardboard cutout of a little sister. I couldn’t help but wonder what Dee from What’s Happening? was up to while watching this.

  10. The Adults in this Movie are Terrible! WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF THESE BASKETBALL GAMES?! WHY WAS NO ADULT IN THIS SCHOOL STOPPING THE PLAYERS FROM LEAVING THE TEAM TO YELL AT KIDS FOR “SITTING IN THEIR SECTION?!” WHY DID NO ADULT GET INVOLVED WHEN A FIGHT NEARLY HAPPENS IN THE CLIMAX SCENE?!? (In the very least, Kenan grabbing the ‘main bully’ the way he did should have been an out-of-school suspension right there.)

  11. The nerds randomly get the cool chicks at the end? No explanation or dialogue, they just waltz right on over and sit down? It’s suddenly acceptable for them to like them because Nick Cannon said so?! No! No movie, that just DOES NOT HAPPEN!

  12. The Ending – It doesn’t end, it just stops! And it feels so rushed! But by this point, I was thanking God for it to be over. (BTW: Even the deleted ending doesn’t work but it who cares…)


  1. She’s like a frappucino with hips – Nick Cannon

  2. Shut up, Lil’ Kim in training – Nick Cannon to his sister

  3. *Popular kid drinks raw egg yoke* Keep it gangsta!

  4. Nick Cannon walking like a nerd pretending to be cool.

  5. The butterfingers in the vending machine rock! – Nick Cannon

  6. I’ll be scooping you up like chunky monkey! – Nick Cannon

  7. What a wankster – cheerleader

  8. Paris: “Alvin I think you’re starting to feel yourself a little too much.” Nick Cannon: “No I don’t! Who told you that! My mother said you’ll go blind!”

  9. Look at him standing there like a butter-leathered prada bag. – Some chick

  10. The “groupie-hoopty” – Nick Cannon

  11. I got free long distance on my cell, baby. I don’t need it on a date. – fake girl Nick Cannon goes out with

  12. You’re never gonna be an Alecia Keyes. You’re gonna be the wife if an NBA Superstar. – friend of Paris

  13. LOSERS TO THE LEFT!!! – The stupid obsessive basketball player who should have been stopped by an adult for walked off the court to yell at Kenan to leave his seat, as if it was a Rosa Parks-esque situation. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. (sidenote: a few months later, this quote is much easier to make fun of.)


  1. Dee from What’s Happening? to be a better bratty little sister

  2. Crazy Chick from Tyler Perry’s What’s Done in the Dark…

  3. Kyla Pratt’s character in Fat Albert to react to the nonsense

  4. Vanilla Ice to give us better party music

  5. Fred Armisen (since Cannon’s angry friend looks like him a little)

  6. Cedric the Entertainer’s underwhelming character in Johnson Family Vacation

  7. Steve Harvey’s over-the-top character in Johnson Family Vacation

  8. David Alan Grier’s character from Peeples to look at everyone utterly annoyed

  9. Bill Cosby & Sidney Poitier to watch this movie and be disappointed in black cinema

  10. My mother to make life make sense again

Well. At least Mariah Carey has Glitter and Nick Cannon has this horse crap. I wonder if this was a topic on their first date – lamenting over their bad movies.


Just stay away from this one. I give it one point simply by comparison of other movies that made me yell at them for being atrocities. And Steve Harvey does make things a little more bearable that they could have been. But this is largely an uncomfortable experience of a movie with no charm, a totally unrealistic outlook on the modern high school student, a weird way to get to a moral, and completely ruins what the good thing that the original had going for it. Take my word for it, this one is worth a pass. I haven’t yelled at a movie this much in a good while, and what’s worse is that filmmakers didn’t learn their lesson after this one. The 2000s gave us more movies with potentially decent black casts that didn’t deliver. We’ll have to take a look at those after I calm down from this atrocity. (I did watch Johnson Family Vacation again over winter break…hmmm…)


Let me know what you thought! (Let’s yell at this movie together and hope it learn its’ lesson.)


love dont cost.2

4 thoughts on “Love Don’t Cost a Thing: A TERRIBLE movie

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