I like to discuss movies critically, but I consider myself a movie fan more than I consider myself a movie critic. All movies aren’t Oscar contenders, and that’s ok. That being said, I’ve seen so many movies that I can’t help but notice when one doesn’t measure up. When I saw the trailer for The Perfect Guy, I thought it looked like it might be passably entertaining, but it seemed derivative even in that 30-second clip. I’m probably showing my age, but Fatal Attraction will forever be the standard bearer in this genre, because it was just as suspenseful as it was smart. The Perfect Guy was neither suspenseful nor smart, and the only reason why I wasn’t disappointed was because my expectations were low to begin with.
Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan, The Best Man Holiday) is a beautiful, accomplished woman who seems to have it all. Her boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut, The Best Man Holiday) is every bit her equal, and they look like a great match. However, as most women in their thirties will attest, there comes a time when you’re ready to start a family, and any person or relationship that doesn’t advance that objective is a waste of time. When Dave reveals his uncertainty about future fatherhood, the pair agrees it’s best to part ways. Fresh out of a two-year relationship, it isn’t long before Leah crosses paths with a very handsome stranger, Carter Duncan (Michael Ealy, Think Like a Man Too).
Carter is everything a woman would want, which is sort of the problem. I’m all for positive vibes, but most things that seem too good to be true usually are. Carter is attentive, doting, romantic, and chivalrous. When he shows up to her workplace unexpectedly, Leah is flattered not frightened – even though she never told him where she worked. The couple moves at lightning speed, and she even introduces him to her parents, despite the fact it’s only been a few weeks. They seem like a match made in heaven until the short relationship implodes in a horrifying instant. While stopped at a gas station, a man approaches Leah while she waits in the car for Carter, who’s inside. He strikes up a conversation about Carter’s classic car, but before Leah can relay the stranger’s admiration Carter mercilessly attacks the man, savagely beating him in a jealous rage.
After this critical plot point, the movie devolved into a hackneyed exercise in predictability. There was little in the way of character development, as Carter had two extremes: angel and maniac, with no shades of gray. There should’ve been a slow build to his insanity, a subtle moment where Lathan’s character begins to second-guess the relationship. When Carter snaps, there’s no doubt that the relationship is over because his actions are so extreme with such little provocation. When Dave and Leah reconnect, it feels contrived, a function of necessity rather than realism. I like Lathan and Chestnut, but at what point are they going to stretch themselves artistically? This movie does not meaningfully add to their repertoire. Ealy typically features as the clichéd “nice” leading man, so I’ll give him credit for doing something different this time around, though the source material was lacking. The Perfect Guy didn’t need to be the perfect movie, but it was not big screen worthy. I know the movie has a built-in audience, and I’m sure they loved it. I certainly did not. Grade: D.