Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Perfect Guy

There was a kid behind me and to the left who would not stop talking during this movie, at one point getting out some noisy Mickey Mouse toy and then crying when his mother took it away because she was trying to watch the movie and that was a line that she didn't want crossed. I know some people would get really angry at these people, but I can't really blame the kid - he's stuck in one place with a movie that's of pretty much zero interest to him playing, and his noise was kind of at the level that parents probably want most of the time, indicating mostly contentment some distance away from a meltdown but not so quiet that they get worried that some disaster is imminent. Ideally, this wouldn't be happening, but at least you can use it as evidence the next time someone tells you that going to the movies has gotten too expensive: One more ticket is clearly still cheaper than a babysitter.

That The Perfect Guy is not a particularly good movie doesn't enter into it, although, no, it's not a very good movie at all, and one I probably would have skipped if I didn't tend to think the weekend's top ticket-seller should probably have some sort of review on the site I write for. And, okay, if the cast wasn't people I liked. I haven't seen as much of Sanaa Lathan as I'd like, because while the past few weeks are hopefully getting Hollywood to see that black actors can bring an audience, that wasn't the perception during her prime years. Something similar can probably be said for Morris Chestnut, although he seems to be holding on to a leading-man appearance pretty well for a guy in his mid-forties.

And, yes, I did really like Michael Ealy on Almost Human. I was sad to be the only person in the theater to laugh when a cope described his character as "a robot".

At least it looks like the down period will be over next week, and it will be more about finding time for the movies I want to see rather than grabbing the likes of this out of vague obligation and mild interest.

The Perfect Guy

* * (out of four)
Seen 13 September 2015 in AMC Assembly Row #5 (first-run, DCP)

There's a thing that The Perfect Guy does, a fade-to-black when some necessary plot point in the stalker-movie script has been checked off and, as the scene has no further purpose, the film can move on. I almost imagine the filmmakers satisfied, having hit their goal for the day, and knocking off early rather than putting a little more work in.

You almost don't even need to hear the story described: Leah (Sanaa Lathan) is a successful lobbyist in Los Angeles with an equally-successful boyfriend, Dave (Morris Chestnut), but they break up over his reticence toward getting married and having kids. Eventually, she finds a new guy, Carter (Michael Ealy), a digital security expert who displays a surprisingly capability for violence at the slightest provocation. Her breaking up with him and going back to Dave? More than slight provocation.

How much variation can one really get from this basic story? Think of the movies which have added a twist to this plot, and how ridiculous they have often seemed; verging too far from the real dangers of this sort of obsession quickly leads to absurdity. Which wouldn't necessarily be bad; leaning into some insanity might at least make for good pulp. Instead, though, The Perfect Guy often seems lazy: Here's Carter telling us the part of his backstory that would indicate he's not going to take people leaving well. Here's Leah making sure he knows the way that he can ingratiate himself with her father. Here's Detective Hansen (Holt McCallany) telling Leah what to do to make sure that we have the expected climactic confrontation.

Full review on EFC.

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