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Loverboy (May 3/04)

There was a certain kind of charm to silly '80s comedies like Loverboy, an innocence that seems to have been replaced with cynicism. There's no way a movie with this kind of a storyline - a college kid becomes a gigolo to pay for tuition - could be made today without the addition of American Pie-esque gross-out shenanigans.

The movie stars Patrick Dempsey as Randy Bodek, the aforementioned college kid whose relentless partying has gotten him in trouble with both his parents and his girlfriend. After receiving less-than-stellar marks on his latest report card, Randy's father announces that he'll no longer pay for tuition. Randy is forced to take a job as a pizza delivery boy, though he soon discovers he'd have to work there for years in order to pay the $9000 he needs for college. While on delivery, he meets an older woman (played by former Bond girl Barbara Carrera) who essentially transforms him into a gigolo-for-hire.

Loverboy is packed with wacky misunderstandings and broad characterizations (ie the nutty best friend), the sort of elements that are required in such a film. But it's Dempsey's ingratiating performance that keeps things interesting, imbuing his character with an easy charm that goes a long way. That Dempsey isn't exactly handsome in the traditional sense makes it a lot easier to relate to him (well, to the extent that we can relate to someone who becomes a gigolo anyway).

Though it took three people to write the screenplay, Loverboy's story is fairly streamlined; the majority of the movie follows the same pattern of a setup followed by a slapstick sequence. In regards to the aforementioned wacky misunderstandings, the film is packed with such moments of comedy (including a running gag that sees Randy's father receive more and more clues that his son might be gay) and it's hard not to find some of these things a little humorous.

Loverboy is almost instantly forgettable, but it's the kind of movie that's perfect for a lazy summer afternoon.

out of

About the DVD: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment presents Loverboy with a spiffy new letterboxed transfer, along with trailers for Jerry Maguire, Maid in Manhattan, and My Best Friend's Wedding (which precede the film, but cannot be accessed from the main menu).
© David Nusair