Monday, April 18, 2011

Worst of the Worst: #60, The Perfect Man

There have been a number of different ways by which the movies on this list have gone wrong. You've had everything from bad acting to bad direction, even some bad cinematography. In some of the movies, just everything missed. It's rare that I could point to one thing and say, "That's it. But for that one thing, the movie would be at least mediocre." The Perfect Man is just such a movie. But for one thing, it wouldn't be so bad. The problem is that the "one thing" is the story and the script. The acting was fine. Hilary Duff isn't bad, especially in the precocious teen role. Heather Locklear was likable. Who can hate Chris Noth in anything? Nothing was so off with the direction or the pacing. All of those point to a romantic comedy that would not be remarkable in either a positive or negative way. But just like how story can overcome a lot of other factors in a movie, an awful story can sink a movie even if everything else is okay, and the writing that forms the skeleton of this film is so awful that it drags the movie towards the depths of being one of the worst romantic comedies ever.

Locklear plays a woman whose husband left her when she found out she was pregnant (of course, how she ended up with two daughters in that scenario confused me) and, since then, has moved with said daughters from town to town, always leaving after being burned by the last ugly relationship. She's so desperate for a man that she stands up at a parent-teacher assembly and complains about it. Duff is the precocious daughter who has a blog about her constant moves around the country. This lets her provide a narration of the movie, but it again confuses me that she blogs about things she feels about her mother while nobody seems to read it. Upon moving to Brooklyn, Duff decides, with the help of her really stereotypically Brooklyn friend, to invent a perfect man to make her mother happy so they don't have to move anymore. She sends flowers and e-mails and uses a picture of her friend's uncle -- played by Chris Noth, so you know how the movie ends already -- to give the guy a face. Okay, fine, I guess that's cute. This leads to a number of problems:
  • The mother is sad about her love life, so inventing a guy that she can never meet isn't going to help anyone.
  • The mother meets a nice, but less attractive, guy who really seems to like her. This "perfect man" ruins that guy's life by making the mother not interested.
  • Noth's character is nothing to but nice to Duff, but now she's embroiled him in this horrible scheme to lie to her mother and, in one scene, his restaurant is destroyed by a sprinkler system as Duff tries to avoid him and Locklear seeing each other.
What, in one light, can be seen as a precocious teen trying to help her mother feel better can be seen, in a more correct light, as a selfish kid destroying lives around her for the sake of sport. In this more correct light, the plot isn't so much cute as deranged. Sure, maybe everyone's happy in the end except for the nice, less attractive guy, but at what cost? And who else wasn't happy in the end? Everyone who had to see the movie. By the end, I mean the very end. There are some great last lines in movies, from "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" to "And, like that... he's gone" to "I hear voices." Throw The Perfect Man in that pile! The movie ends as Duff decides that she no longer needs to blog about moving around anymore and says, "Now I don't just have a homepage, I have a home."

No comments: