Can't Buy Me Love Movie Poster Image

Can't Buy Me Love



Teen comedy is dated but occasionally funny.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

High school clique behavior, a character sells himself out for popularity.


A few tense stand-offs.


Kissing, semi-nudity, references to off-screen sex acts.


Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens drinking freely at parties, a drunken confession affects the plot.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language that gets thrown around in a casual way. There is not much onscreen nudity, but a lot of sexual references and some crude jokes and comments about sexuality. The premise of the movie involves a popular girl dating a nerdy boy for money, and there are some references to prostitution. There are a few scenes where high school age kids drink, with no consequences from authority figures. A main character, a good student, starts to ignore his studies and suffers no consequences. There are few speaking roles for minorities, and a heavy reliance on stereotypes for the plot development (a nerd/ cool kid rivalry).

What's the story?

CAN'T BUY ME LOVE is a teen romantic comedy about Ronald (Patrick Dempsey), a high school senior who has been filling the role of hard-working student all of his life. He has a group of close friends, and a supportive family, but he longs to be accepted by the popular crowd, headed by his lovely next-door neighbor, Cindy (Amanda Peterson). When Cindy finds herself in dire need of $1000, Ronald offers her a deal: He will pay her the money if she pretends to date him for a month. She agrees and soon Ronald is the toast of the popular set. All the girls want to date him, all the boys want to be like him, and Cindy starts to warm to him. From the outset, Ronald's popularity presents problems as well as privileges: He leaves his old friends behind, he starts to do badly in his classes, and as his personality changes, Cindy becomes disillusioned, and their budding friendship dissolves. It's only when his ploy is exposed that Ronald can start to think about the cost of playing any role, nerd or cool kid, and being anything other than what he really is.

Is it any good?


High schoolers will have little tolerance for the simplified version of their social lives, and parents might object to younger children watching due to language and issues of sexuality. There are a few charming moments, though, especially as Cindy and Ronald become friends.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how people deal with loneliness, popularity, and the demands of both. How do people "sell" themselves? The value of being true to yourself is a main theme of the movie. What does being true to yourself require?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 19, 1987
DVD/Streaming release date:June 1, 2001
Cast:Amanda Peterson, Patrick Dempsey, Seth Green
Director:Steve Rash
Studio:Buena Vista
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, mild sexuality, mild substance abuse

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byHappilyEverAfter July 17, 2009


I thought it was a cute movie. It taught a good lesson.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bydvdgirl85 October 4, 2015

Great movie.

so a guy that's not so popular becomes popular by going out with the pretty girl . but you have to be yourself and not copy others. great eighties movie. RIP Amanda.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 2 year old Written byalinzasmommy2006 December 20, 2008

Good Movie

great for older teens (about 17 & up).