2009 teen comedy directed by Chris Columbus
and written by Larry Doyle from his own novel, in which high school geek Denis (Paul Rust) chooses his valedictorian speech to let the titular cheerleader, played by Hayden Panettiere
, know his feelings. Even though she's gorgeous, popular and has a psycho army boyfriend. Later that day he and his best friend, having invited her and her friends around for a party, are surprised when they turn up. This isn't the only surprise fate has in store for Denis, since Beth isn't quite the girl he visualised...
This film includes examples of:
- Ambiguously Gay: Everyone is certain Rich is gay, but he insists he's straight. By the end, he says he's bi, but it's still ambiguous because he doesn't show interest in women.
- Billing Displacement: While Hayden Panettiere is top-billed and is essentially playing the film's catalyst, the story is told entirely from the points of view of Denis and Rich. (Even the title comes from Denis.)
- The Cheerleader: Beth Cooper.
- Dawson Casting: Averted with Hayden Panettiere. Played very straight with everyone else.
- The high school pictures of the cast and above-the-line crew in the end credits give the game away (Panettiere looks around the same age in the movie as in her picture, but the others... not so much).
- Drives Like Crazy: Beth.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: How Beth manages to persuade the convenience store owner to let Denis buy some beer despite his looking underage (in-universe, anyway).
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Beth.
- Male Gaze:
- When Denis falls head first into Beth's lap, he looks up her skirt and we see a POV shot of her panties.
- Toward the end, Beth's two girl friends try to prove Rich is gay by doing something that would turn on any straight boy: licking a phallic pastry. The scene is shot to turn on the male viewers, of course.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Subverted. Beth turns out to be more grounded than it appears.
- The Movie Buff: Rich
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Denis gives one to everyone in the senior class except Beth, including his Best friend during his valedictorian speech.
- Rich quotes a ton of movies
- Denis has a Star Wars poster. In the alternate ending, the character posing imitates the poster.
- Stalking Is Love: Played with for laughs. Denis stalks Beth, who gets freaked out, but she ultimately appreciates his love.
- Toplessness from the Back: Beth in the girls' locker room, in front of Denis.