Ronald Miller (Dempsey) is the campus nerd, a geek, a poindexter. When cheerleading beauty Cindy Mancini (Peterson) finds herself $1000 out of pocket, Ronald offers her the cash, so long as she poses as his girlfriend for a month.
Patrick Dempsey is far too attractive to be a campus geek. A suede dress that costs $1,000 is over-valued by at least $975. These two minor quibbles aside, Can't Buy Me Love gets into it's stride fairly quickly, picking it's way past the remains of fallen campus movies that have gone before it. Nice performances, a useful script and a dignified ending all boost this film's appeal, but it is the workable simplicity of the premise that really does it. Popularity is exchanged as easily as the cash that poker-playing nerd Ronald (Dempsey) can front, and his one-month quest to be somebody gradually goes sour without him noticing. The girl he has pined after for so long pales beside his newfound status as he wallows in the sycophancy and fickle allegiance of his peers. This turn of affairs must, if this teen flick has any nouse (which it does), come full circle, to the learning of a lesson that is, nicely, neither under nor over played.
Can't Buy Me Love is sharp in its focus and, whilst leaving the darker moral issues untapped, it undoubtedly works as Pretty Woman for teens.