The Perfect Man

The Perfect Man


Reviewed by: Stephen McMorland

Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of Cliche Airlines, I would like to welcome you aboard Flight 1110. If you can bear with us while we go through our pre flight check, we will be taking off for Happy Fluffy land in just a moment.

Lonely but quirky teenage girl with unconventional good looks?... Check. Familiar Face of TV's Yesteryear as Parent? Hey, look everybody, it's that chick from T.J. Hooker (wasn't she in Wayne's World?) ...Check. Annoyingly precocious younger sibling?... Check. Love interest is artist/musician/loner/fellow outsider?... Check... no, Check and Check. Best Friend is Ethnic and a passive facilitator of madcap schemes?... Check. Home Life is adorably dysfunctional?... Check.

Copy picture

Well, that concludes our pre-flight Check. The Perfect Man will now take off and shall reach it's destination in approximately 100 minutes.

OK, so The Perfect Man looks like a How To for teen rom-coms. I thought I might see the King of Eighties Teen Flicks (John Hughes), mentioned as Creative Director in the credits (surprisingly not), but it was, in the words of Ford Prefect, Mostly Harmless.

The Story is a familiar one. Lonely teen Holly (Hilary Duff) lives a gypsy lifestyle with her seven-year-old sister (played by who cares?) and restless Loser-in-Love Single Mom (Heather Locklear). After yet another relationship bites the big one, Mom moves the family to Brooklyn. Holly meets her new female friend (cute Italian type), whose Uncle Ben is, you will be shocked to realise, probably the Perfect Man of the title; he gives the girls some advice about how to impress girls and (for the usual peculiarly twisted logic of these silly films) Holly decides her mom would be really happy if her daughter invented a fake boyfriend to make her feel loved and, coincidently, encourage her to stop running away all the time.... yeah, right! So, in a series of deceptions, collusions and madcap schemes that you should be able to recognise from any Shakespearean Comedy, we reach the inevitable conclusion, which can be summed up with the phrase: "Running away from your Problems is Bad." Gasp, shock, revelation, guys!.

Despite the frequently foolish script and stereotypical characters (please note the appalling gay stereotype waiter), this is as pleasing a confection as Mom the baker might produce for Thanksgiving - you know it is bad for you, but it feels so good!

Locklear proves she is more than a pretty face and Duff does a very good impersonation of Molly Ringwold in Pretty In Pink, so it is generally an amusing diversion from your worldly cares for about two hours. One thing I liked was the link between a quote in Holly's English class from (according to the movie) Sir Walter Scott..."Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." The girls, being so wrapped up in weaving their "tangled web" that they totally fail to pay heed to the apt warning in the quote - so ably translated by Adam (Ben Feldman), the sensitive Artist Geek that you just know Holly will end up with.

This allusion to great literature is annoyingly common in todays teen flicks, but in this cliche-fest we are hardly surprised that it blindly follows the lead that more original films have delivered. There is a nice bit where we realise that through this stupid deception, Holly learns more about her mother, but ultimately the greatest lie is in the title. There is no such thing as a perfect man.

Is there?

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2005
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The Perfect Man packshot
Pretty In Pink meets everything else.
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Director: Mark Rosman

Writer: Gina Wendkos

Starring: Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Chris Noth, Mike O'Malley, Ben Feldman, Vanessa Lengies, Caroline Rhea, Kym Whitley, Aria Wallace, Carson Kressley, Michelle Nolden

Year: 2005

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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