May 17, 2014

Review: The Perfect Man (2005)

I still remember seeing commercials on TV for The Perfect Man back in 2005 and thinking to myself how I would never see a dumb girl movie like that. When you're a 15 year-old boy you live by a code where The Perfect Man is 100% absent from. All I cared about was Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and nothing else. Seeing The Perfect Man now is strangely nostalgic in a way because it reminds me of when I was so intolerant of certain movies.

Hilary Duff is nearing her plateau in popularity if not already peaked in 2005. Lizzie McGuire had ended a year earlier and her most popular album to date was her 2004 self-titled album. Doing TV, movies and music is impressive and pretty commendable. She does a lot of everything but nothing amazingly well if you ask me but I'm not the best Hilary Duff expert anyhow. She's still a good role-model and hasn't suffered from the child star curse. She's going through a soft career resurgence with an album coming out this year, a new TV show starting in the fall and she's settled into doing voice acting in direct-to-video animated movies. That's not so bad if you ask me.

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Genre: comedy, family, romance
Directed by: Mark Rosman
Produced by: Susan Duff, Marc Platt, Dawn Wolfrom, etc.
Written by: Gina Wendkos
Music by: Christophe Beck
Running time: 100 minutes
Production company: Universal Pictures, Marc Platt Productions
Distributed by: Universal Studios, Universal Pictures, United International Pictures, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $10,000,000
Box office: $19,770,475 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

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

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Synopsis


The story follows Holly Hamilton (Duff) who lives with her single mom Jean (Heather Locklear) and little sister Zoe (Aria Wallace). Holly's mom is pretty fragile when it comes to relationships. Any time there is a break-up, Jean and her girls pack up and move somewhere else for a new adventure. Holly has been pretty supportive of this but it does get on her nerves all the same. They settle in New York and she desperately tries to figure out a way to get her to stay put. She comes up with the idea of creating the "perfect man" who doesn't actually exist so it's a mad scramble for Holly to keep on top of fake letters, gifts, emails, etc.

Review


The story is pretty unrealistic and actually uncomfortable at times when it come to tricking Jean Hamilton in believing she's in a long distance relationship. It's PG rating is painfully apparent at times and it suffers from having the same, tired characters you'd expect in a romantic comedy. There's a token gay guy, a wise-cracking black woman and a slew of other one-dimensional supporting characters. I feel bad for saying this but Aria Wallace as Holly's little sister adds exactly nothing to the movie when usually a child actor in her position does something memorable. Foreshadowing is also hamfisted and shoved down your throat.

Hilary Duff plays a well-meaning daughter who just wants to help her mom be happy. The plan she comes up with is doomed to failure from the beginning and her acting is pretty "TV." When she's upset, Hilary looks like she's just throwing a tantrum with the politically correct amount of midriff showing. The Perfect Man is not her finest hour to say the least. Razzie nomination worthy? I can't really say. Of the movies I've seen with the actresses nominated I'd put Jessica Alba as the winner although I haven't seen Dirty Love with Jenny McCarthy yet. Can't wait.

The big moment that happens during the climax is so mind numbingly bad. It relies on some really dumb trickery to make it work that I just had to watch that sequence again because I couldn't believe it. Honestly, Mark Rosman should be ashamed of himself for relying on such cheapness. Or maybe Gina Wendkos deserves the blame as the scriptwriter but damn it someone has to take responsibility.

The Perfect Man is a little worse than forgettable. It has some pretty awkward moments alongside formulaic moments. It's also one of those romantic comedies that suffers from a lot of unrealistic elements. For example, the apartment that Jean Hamilton is able to get looks like crap when they first arrive but it's turned into some kind of sitcom set. It's huge and is perfectly furnished. No way could a single-mom baker afford a place like that. In New York? No way. Forget about it.

The Perfect Man is the perfect movie for a a mom and a daughter or two I suppose. It's easy and good for the whole family to watch which is what it's going for. It won't appeal to any sons though. There's demand for movies like this which is just fine but that doesn't change the fact that there are some pretty big weaknesses here. Looks like 15 year-old me wasn't so far off.

Rating


4.5/10