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The Perfect Score
2004 - PG-13 - 103 Mins.
Director: Brian Robbins
Producer: Mike Tollin, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman
Written By: Marc Hyman, Mark Schwahn, Jon Zack
Starring: Erika Christensen, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Greenberg, Chris Evans, Leonardo Nam, and Darius Miles
Review by: Joe Rickey

I thought that this was a copy machine!
In 'The Perfect Score' an eclectic group of high school students all with different goals in life band together in an elaborate plan to steal the answers to the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test, or, as it is referred to in the film, Suck Ass Test). They hope to cheat the system and make a statement that a single solitary test should not define who they are or who they will become in the future. The film stars Erika Christensen (Traffic, Swimfan), Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation), and Chris Evans (Not Another Teen Movie). Brian Robbins (Hardball, Varsity Blues) directs this enjoyable teen caper film.

First off, there is no doubt that 'The Perfect Score' manages to be an entertaining film despite its share of flaws. One of its biggest flaws is found in the outright implausibility of the heist that is pulled off in the film. There is so little time spent by the characters planning it that it really takes a leap of faith to believe that they could really pull it off. Sure, they acquire the blueprints to the building where the answers are held but they never are seen giving more than a cursory glance at the titular blueprints. No, for they spend too much time talking about miscellaneous topics unrelated to the heist to give much thought to the execution of their plan. There are a few more questions that are left unanswered such as how a kid who spends most of his time smoking pot in the school bathroom is somehow a computer whiz when the plot calls for it.

Despite all of its flaws, 'The Perfect Score' is ultimately a fun film to watch. Director Brian Robbins gives everything a fresh and appealing look with humor, romance, and drama interspersed effectively as to give the film much needed variety. He is able to correctly portray the changing nature of characters as personal dilemmas make them ever the more willing participants in what they know deep down is wrong. Robbins is careful to never delve too much into this aspect of the film because he knows that the film’s target audience wants humor and a fast-pace at the expense of moral dilemma.

Characters that are, for the most part, effectively acted by the young cast further enrich the film. Erika Christensen is aptly uptight as the stereotypical smart girl who needs a high score to get into Brown University. Scarlett Johansson has the rebel teenager down cold. Chris Evans gives a surprisingly solid performance, as does Bryan Greenberg as two more members of the team of would-be criminals. As the bearer of much of the film’s comic relief, Leonardo Nam is appropriately likable and does manage to garner a few laughs in the process. The weak link in the cast is Darius Miles (Now an NBA basketball star for the Portland Trail Blazers) who handles the basketball portions but struggles mightily when it comes time for him to show some modicum of emotion. He is as bland and unemotional as actors come.

Overall, 'The Perfect Score' overcomes its negative aspects to become what could be termed a guilty pleasure.

Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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