The Perfect Guy: Damp Squib of a Romantic Thriller
Morris ChestnutSanaa Lathan
David M. Rosenthal
In 1 Cinema
Repetitive, uninspired and painfully vanilla, David M. Rosenthal’s The Perfect Guy – a poor cross between Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction – is the latest obsessive-relationship thriller that promises an exciting ride, but just doesn’t have the tools to deliver the goods.
Written by Tyger Williams – see 1993’s Menace II Society from the Hughes Brothers – the story is centred on Leah (Lathan); a hardworking lobbyist who has always put her career before her personal life. However, she is forever-hopeful that her committed and longstanding relationship with Dave (Chestnut) will eventually lead her down the aisle and get her that white-picket fence and family that she always knew she wanted.
Unfortunately, Dave doesn’t seem to be on the same matrimonial page as Leah and she’s quickly forced to cut him loose. It’s not too long before she meets Carter (Ealy); a handsome IT security specialist who is quick to charm his way into her life and win over her – and her family – with his extremely seductive ways. However, things soon take a turn for the worst when Carter begins to show a meaner side to his personality and Leah quickly decides it’s best to keep her distance. Naturally, her decision doesn’t sit well with Carter who is not ready to go away without a fight and will do anything to make their union work.
Shimmery and exceptionally glossy, The Perfect Guy looks pretty attractive – and inviting – and audiences will most definitely appreciate the efforts that went into the cinematography, including the sun-kissed L.A setting as well as Leah’s modern, wall-to-wall glass-house in the hills where most of the film takes place. When it comes to the story itself, however, there is not much to speak of, as the predictability of William’s script – almost unbearably and agonizingly so – and director David M. Rosenthal’s safe play, drains the story from whatever potential it had.
Things feel rushed and the viewers aren’t really given the chance or the time engage with the characters who all feel a little bit overqualified for the job at hand. Lathan is relatively convincing, while Chestnut – as the good-looking ex-boyfriend – comes across as awfully empty-headed and bland. Lastly, it’s Ealy – as the new too-good-to-be-true man in Leah’s life – that takes away the prize for one of the least scariest on-screen stalkers in history, whose swiftly-changing personality comes across as funny as opposed to scary.
All in all, The Perfect Guy is a cliché-loving soap of a thriller that doesn’t know how to be; insipid and uncreative, there is very little terror hiding beneath its B-movie vibe and its immaculately polished façade.
Do not be fooled.