Love Don't Cost a Thing Directed by Troy Beyer
Warner Bros., in release
Even in the teen-flick "Sweet Valley" of 1987, there were few places outside John Hughes's brain where paying somebody to be your girl didn't look like prostitution. Yet somebody made the Slow-Times-at-Clueless-High stinker Can't Buy Me Love. Now, in Troy Beyer's buppie remake, pool-boy Alvin (Drumline's Nick Cannon) unconvincingly transforms from nerdy auto-shop rat to N.E.R.D.-y playa by extorting social clout from the school hottie (Christina Milian): He'll fix her mom's wrecked Escalade if she pretends to be his shorty. Enter shallow pals and baller thugs who police all dork seating arrangements. Though it never seems sure what decade it's inthe badly 'froed Cannon's got a Rerun sidekick, "Humpty Dance" is the hip new party joint, and condom-curator dad Steve Harvey, who manages to milk some laughs from his dry lines, dresses in his Fred Sanford best and dances around to eight-track tapesthe screenplay lands a few tasty hallway snaps. But since Cannon and Milian have to squash any frisson to avoid sinking into pure escort-service sleaze, there's not much rom in the rom-com.