"Can't Buy Me Love"
Music By Robert Folk
14 Tracks/Disc Time: 27:29
Also Contains "Paradise (1991)
Music By David Newman
Intrada Special Collection Vol. 251
29 Tracks/Disc Time: 60:08
"Can't Buy Me Love" Score Portion Grade: B
By 1987, the teen romance and comedy genre was really hitting its' stride in full bloom after the great success of John Hughes' films, "Sixteen Candles", "The Breakfast Club", "Weird Science", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Pretty In Pink" and "Some Kind of Wonderful". Also throw in other fun memorable films like "Better Off Dead", "One Crazy Summer", "The Sure Thing" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", it was pretty much a teen free for all of now memorable films and plenty of ones that have become personal favorites to all of those who can easily recite the lines like myself which would also lead to even more in the years ahead like "Say Anything", "Heathers" and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and it's sequel, "Bogus Journey". "Can't Buy Me Love" is one of those movies you either love or hate and for a very very long time, I was in the minority because I really did sympathize with the main character and the way he got treated towards the end at least until he finally had enough with the B.S. and just stood up for himself. But before we got to that point the film revolved a nerdy Senior named Ronald Miller (Grey's Anatomy's Patrick Dempsey) who mows lawns as his after school job who daringly comes up with a get popular quick scheme that comes about when when the sexy cheerleader at his school, Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson, "Explorers") whom he's had a major crush on goes to a party wearing her mom's sexy suede outfit which is totally trashed thanks to a glass of wine. In a desperate predicament to help her, Ronald offers her a thousand dollars (the cost of a new dress) to help him become popular at school and at the same time, saving her from incurring the wrath of her mother. She agrees and soon Ronald is sitting with the clique crowds, going to parties and enjoying the life of a popular teen. What they both didn't count on is that they actually start to develop real feelings for each other and soon Ronald's plan really begins to unravel losing his newfound friends along with his best friend (Courtney Gains, "Colors") and becoming a punchline joke until he sets the record straight with both the nerds and the clique once and for all.
The film was a surprise hit when it came out in late Summer of 1987 earning a very strong 33 million dollars which was a lot for a mostly independant production until Disney acquired it. A remake starring Nick Cannon and Christina Milian surfaced in 2003 called "Love Don't Cost A Thing" which was a modern update that was totally missing the heart and soul of this film unfortunately despite its' stars and pretty good cast. Yet, it doesn't hold a candle to this movie because it had a more realistic storyline and the characters were appealing. Aiding to the success of the film aside from the memorable Beatles song that rightfully dominates the opening and ending of the picture (Happy Ending!* Spoiler!) is the work of the ever busy and engaging composer Robert Folk, who was really riding high on the success of the comedies "Bachelor Party" starring Oscar Winner Tom Hanks, and "Police Academy", which was just released by the great La-La Land Records on CD this past week and it's three sequels up to the point this film was released. Folk is a master musician who holds a doctorate and has written many memorable scores to such films like "There Be Dragons", "Toy Soldiers", "Beastmaster 2", "Neverending Story 2" and a last minute rescue on the entertaining sci-fi thriller, "Tremors."
The score Folk wrote for this film is very contemporary in feel, but also romantic in its' own way. Emphasis on a little bit of rock for the scheming plan of Ronald and the lush romance that develops between Cindy and Ronald later on. Starting with "Rent Me" with it's breezy synths and funky guitar work it develops the love theme for Cindy and Ronald that culminates in a beautiful lush settings in both "Broken Moon" and "Anything You Want" which is pure hearttugging and sweet material and gets more play in the tracks "Anything For You", "Don't Forget", and "You, Me!". Folk underscores Ronald's isolation ("Siberia", "Dark Vid Game Fight" and redemption with gusto in "The Target", featuring a lovely flute and guitar solo that has a touch of the love theme as well as a new and mature theme for Ronald that shows he has rediscovered the real person he always was. Of course, like a fairy tale, Ronald gets the girl at the end and rides off into the sunset together on the lawnmower with a great reprise of their rocking love theme, "Rent Me (Finale)."
Intrada's release of this score is a like a little mini gem that most soundtrack collectors would summarily dismiss as just being another comedy score. However, this one has a great purpose because the music does have love, warmth and a gentle deft touch that just perfectly captures the moods of these characters going through their situations and finally coming together at the end. It's what you call perfect film scoring and Folk's score unfortunately really takes a back seat to the Beatles song and it's a real shame because the score is really really good. With this release, it'll help give this score it's rightful just due. Very strong thumbs up.