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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Perfect Guy movie review: dating blame

The Perfect Guy red light

An enragingly stupid and obvious “thriller” jammed with dull genre clichés, wild hypocrisy, and just a hint of victim blaming.
I’m “biast” (pro): I am desperate for movies about women

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Silly me! For some reason I assumed that The Perfect Guy was a romantic comedy. But as the movie unspooled, Leah’s (Sanaa Lathan: Contagion) relationship with new boyfriend Carter (Michael Ealy: Underworld: Awakening) was showing no signs of adorable shenanigans. Instead the movie was swinging sledgehammers like this: “How did you find me?” she wonders when he calls her office the day after they met even though she hadn’t given him her number; “It’s 2015 and I’m an IT expert” comes his scary-smooth response. Uh-oh. He’s a great kisser and the sex is hot, but even if Leah can’t yet see the truth about him, the movie is in such a hurry to get to the good bits that, well… let’s just say the movie wouldn’t be a perfect boyfriend. Like how it can’t resist dropping in painfully on-the-nose “romantic banter” in which Leah and Carter joke about him killing her. Or her best friend (Rutina Wesley: Hannibal) noting playfully that Carter seems “too good to be true.” He’s the perfect guy… too perfect? *cue thrums of suspense in the soundtrack* And then the flick rapidly descends into an enragingly stupid and obvious “thriller” jammed with dull genre clichés — of course there is an ominous walk through a dark parking garage — and wild hypocrisy: men (like Carter) being randomly and unnecessarily violent is bad when it scares a lady, but not when it is to defend a lady, such as when her ex, Dave (Morris Chestnut: Kick-Ass 2), or the cop she goes to for help (Holt McCallany: Run All Night) each separately rough up Carter. That’s chivalry, I guess? Ugh. Written (screenplay by Tyger Williams) and directed (by David M. Rosenthal) by men, this is some weirdly male-gazey junk — Rosenthal seems to imagine that Leah sees herself from ground level, ogling her own sexy high-heel-clad feet — that appears to blame Leah for finding herself at the mercy of stalker. If only she’d stuck with Dave, even though he didn’t want to marry her and have kids like she does. Guys who fear commitment are better than abusers, aren’t they, ladies?

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of The Perfect Guy for its representation of girls and women.

red light 1 star

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The Perfect Guy (2015)
US/Can release: Sep 11 2015
UK/Ire release: Nov 20 2015

MPAA: rated PG-13 for violence, menace, sexuality and brief strong language
BBFC: rated 15 (strong violence, sex, threat)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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