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Ronald Miller: I want to rent you.
Cindy Mancini: You want to rent me?
Ronald Miller: Yeah. You pretend you like me and we go out for a few weeks... and that will make me popular.
Cindy Mancini: Just going out with me is not gonna make you popular.
Ronald Miller: Well I have a thousand dollars that says it will.
Can't Buy Me Love is a 1987 teen movie starring Patrick Dempsey as Ronald Miller, a high school nerd who spends a month as the fake boyfriend of the school's top cheerleader (and his long-time crush) Cindy Mancini by paying her $1000 to replace her mother's dress. Ron quickly becomes one of the popular kids and ends up leaving his old friends and Cindy behind, but rapidly drops in status once the ruse is revealed.
Can't Buy Me Love was remade in 2003 as Love Don't Cost A Thing (NOT the other way around), this time with a black cast.
Provides examples of:
- A Party - Also Known as an Orgy - No apparent sex, but lots of kids in rooms making out
- Acquired Situational Narcissism
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders
- All Girls Want Bad Boys - Cindy's friends seem to be even more interested in Ron after he rather brutally "dumps" Cindy
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
Patty: Oh, yeah. The best leathers come from Rome, Paris, and Des Moines!
- Bastard Boyfriend - Cindy dates one for awhile after Ron dumps her
- Beautiful All Along - Ron, complete with The Glasses Gotta Go
- Becoming the Mask
- Be Yourself
- Chekhov's Gun - An emotional example: Ron calls out to some kids to stop playing in a dangerous tree house. Later on, he teaches one of the jocks a lesson using a childhood moment that happened at that tree house.
Ronald Miller: You broke your arm once before, remember? You fell out of our tree house. Kenneth picked you up and we carried you 12 blocks to the hospital.
Kenneth Wurman: Yeah, you cried all the way.
Ronald Miller: We were all friends then, remember?
- Deadpan Snarker - Chuckie
- Geek Physique - Subverted with Ron, who appears to be an example at first, until he's shown washing Cindy's car shirtless.
- Give Geeks a Chance - Justified since Ron's paying for Cindy's company
- He Cleans Up Nicely - Ron has this effect on Cindy's friends.
- Hollywood Nerd - Ron
- Hot Guys Are Bastards - The jocks were these, and Ron became one of these
- I Just Want to Have Friends
- It Meant Something to Me
- Jerk Jock - There's a whole pack of them, but they do vary in jerkiness.
- Nerds Are Virgins
- Pac-Man Fever - Averted during a few scenes in an arcade. (It helps that it was the 80's.)
- Riding Into the Sunset - On a riding lawnmower!
- Rip Tailoring - When Cindy makes Ron cool.
- Slave to PR - Cindy warns Ron not to become this, but it happens anyway.
Cindy Mancini: Whatever happens to your popularity, stay yourself, don't change to please others.
Ronald Miller: Me change? Never.
Ron: Every time I call you're either taking a bath, washing your hair or you're out of the country. That was a good one, by the way.
- True Beauty Is on the Inside
- Urban Legend Love Life - Ron has this due to his fake relationship with Cindy. In fact, the fake relationship is the only thing holding it together.
- We Used to Be Friends: After Ron becomes more and more popular, he abandons his former friend Kenneth.