There’s no doubt that The Perfect Guy is the kind of film that isn’t screened for critics or searches for any kind of professional legitimacy. Instead, it’s kind of thriller, both erotic and with crime elements, that is made entirely for small-scale thrills in a very unoriginal concept. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, because it is, but there’s no reason to compare this to the September releases that are searching for awards recognition.
Yes, The Perfect Guy is intended to be a break from that type of film, and although it’s low concept and features some unforgivable production failings, it’s not worth hating. It holds your attention and can be enjoyable in its own right.
Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan) is a career business-woman in her thirties who breaks up with her boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) after he shares his insecurities about having a marriage and starting a family. After a few weeks alone, she tries to date again, where she meets the slightly younger and very charming Carter (Michael Ealy). He seems like Mr. Right, and things go well for the first few weeks until she notices he has a bit of a dark side. He becomes angry easily, even resorting to violence on a gas-station attendant who hits on her. When Leah tries to break it off and get her old boyfriend back in her life, Carter is less than willing, setting up a Fatal Attraction plot-line. Holt McCallany plays a large part as a detective on the case, as well.
In a year that has had trouble with new thrillers, The Perfect Guy elects instead to craft a very familiar plot, and just change the culture and style of actor around it. Director David Rosenthal (also of Janie Jones and A Single Shot) has stated publicly that he doesn’t want this to be a ‘black’ movie, but that rather it’s an accessible movie to everyone, just starring black actors. I would agree, but that it’s a little shameless to go for a niche market of these kinds of films, Lathan from Love & Basketball, Morris Chestnut from The Best Man Holiday, and Michael Ealy from About Last Night. The box office draw of these actors are a huge part of the casting, and this really is a modern remake of Fatal Attraction.
The production is that of a Television movie; loud, sweltering music overpowers scenes where it’s unneeded, and Ealy speaks as a whispering robot who sounds more like a GPS system than a sexy gentleman caller. Some of the ‘weird’ things he does post-breakup with Leah are more hysterical than creepy, and guessing the tropes that the film follows and laughing at your success or failure is part of the appeal. Like The Boy Next Door earlier this year, this is the kind of film that reaches a level of what critic Chris Stuckmann describes as a ‘hilariousity’ which is a film that is such an atrocity that it’s hilarious. Other films from this year that are like that: The Loft, The Longest Ride, No Escape, and Outcast.
There’s nothing here to analyze, the result of the film is a predictable mess of cliches that is a fun viewing because it’s unapologetically exaggerated, and it does manage to build a little bit of tension by the end. This is a fun movie to rent in the future and watch with your brother or your significant other.