|The Perfect Man
2005 - PG - 96 Mins.
|Director: Mark Rosman
|Producer: Susan Duff, Dawn Wolfrom
|Written By: Gina Wendkos
|Starring: Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Chris Noth, Carson Kressley, Aria Wallace
|Review by: Joe Rickey
|Official Site: www.theperfectmanmovie.com
Hilary Duff reunites with her 'Cinderella Story' director Mark Rosman for another romantic comedy, this one complete with two romantic plots. Holly Hamilton (played by Duff) has a tentative fling with a comic book "geek" while her mom (Heather Locklear) becomes involved with a friend's uncle (played by Chris Noth). Their respective relationships hit multiple bumps in the road, including but not limited to personal indiscretion, and competition from another less "respectable" man who shows interest in Locklear. Is the end result as successful as the aforementioned fairy tale romance?
Get me in the third Fast and Furious film, stat.
It is with an unfortunate sense of glum that I report that no; 'The Perfect Man' is a far cry from the comparatively sharply observed and quick-witted 'Cinderella Story.' The film's faults begin with a script that draws two central characters that can't help but become grating and otherwise unlikable as the film progresses. Duff's Holly is a constant whiner, complaining ad nausea that she is never allowed to get her way. The first time this is done it is fine but after about the sixth time it becomes tedious, especially considering she seems to be living a good life with a mother who may be distracted, but still obviously cares about her family. Speaking of which, Locklear's character is written as a caricature of romantic desperation, a woman so incredibly pathetic that she is willing to take any man that shows the least bit of interest in her, even if said man is clearly a loser with a capital L.
Both Locklear and Duff do their respective bests in a vain attempt to bring likeability to their onscreen personas but it is, for the most part, a lost cause. As for the family's youngest daughter (Aria Wallace), she is given so little depth and screen time that she might as well not have been in the film. The young actor has literally nothing with which to work.
As for the characters outside the family unit, Chris Noth (television's "Sex and the City", 'Mr. 3000') gives the film's best performance in the fairly underwritten role of the man who is unwittingly courted by Duff for her mother. He gives off a much-needed air of respectability, sophistication, and likeability, a trait the film is otherwise lacking. As a waiter at the restaurant that Noth's character owns, Carson Kressley (television's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy") gives credence and credibility to the otherwise overused gay stereotype, obviously enjoying himself and radiating that sense of fun back to the audience.
Even with a few good performances, director Rosman and actor Duff failed in their efforts to capture the elements that made their previous collaboration a success. It is of utmost urgency that Duff branch out from PG-rated fare into something more adult in nature (PG-13 let’s say) less she run the risk of typecasting herself into bland PG-rated romantic comedies before her fame and box office appeal dissipate.