Image Entertainment // 2010 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // April 28th, 2010
Every Heart Has a Key.
As a species, we've put a man on the moon, cured hundreds if not thousands of fatal diseases, and built structures that have stood for thousands of years. Despite these monumental achievements, as a species we are incapable of consistently solving the problem of finding a compatible person to spend our lives with. Whether it's the horror of a truly ugly blind date, philosophical or religious incompatibility, or the flat-out lying that seems to accompany many human interactions, finding a mate is difficult work. Because of that, it's also pretty darn funny at times, which leads to dating comedies like Perfect Combination. Although the film won't end up on anyone's favorite list, this modest little comedy hits more than it misses by sticking with a simple premise and natural situations.
Rick (Christian Keyes, Madea Goes to Jail) has just been promoted at work, and that throws into stark relief the one thing missing in his life: a woman to share his success with. To that end he decides to join an in-person dating service (since he doesn't want all his personal information on those scary Internets) to find the woman of his dreams. Although his friends give him a hard time, his real problem is the group of women he's set up with by the service. One after another show themselves to be completely the wrong type for poor Rick. Just as he gets discouraged, he realizes what he was looking for might have been there all along.
Sometimes, a middling film can find a chink in a reviewer's armor. There's no reason on Earth that I should have enjoyed any aspect of Perfect Combination. It's obviously aimed at the "urban" market, which I'm not a part of. It's about blind dating, which I haven't done and don't find particularly funny. Finally, it doesn't really have anything new (i.e., besides the same old recycled ghetto-fabulous or "I'm a vegan" blind-date scenarios) to offer in either of those categories to make it stand out. Even with all that stacked against it, I found myself enjoying, in a low-key way, the experience of Perfect Combination. Most of that success is because of the actors. I'm not sure I'd ever want to see any of them in other roles, but their portrayal of a tight-knit group of friends was spot on here. There's an ease between Rick and his three best friends that's charming and makes the otherwise tired aspects of the dating comedy less tiring.
The film is also watchable because it doesn't seem to be trying too hard to wrench comedy from the dating scenarios. We see a couple examples of Rick's disastrous dates, but most of the running time is taken up by his interactions with his friends, who are all also trying to find love. Although that means fewer opportunities for comedy, it also means that we get to see a more human side of the dating world than obnoxious blind dates would allow. This leads to a couple of interesting turns in the plot that feel much more genuine than any blind-date scenario.
Despite my pleasant experience with Perfect Combination, it's a hard film to recommend. Perfect Combination doesn't really aim for anything new, and the comedy that's present is a bit tepid. We get the bitchy vegetarian date, the spaced-out spiritual date, the ghetto-fabulous date, and the hardcore biker-chick date. These are supposed to be funny, but I can't imagine any but the most inexperienced viewer laughing at these barrel-bottom characters. The film could also stand to lose about 10 minutes from its runtime. Although there's a decent attempt to set up Rick's situation, the film strays a little bit from its purpose by giving too much screen time to the plights of his friends. They're necessary elements that set up the rest of the film, but they could have been dealt with a lot more quickly.
Image sent Verdict a screener of the film, so final specs might be different. However, from what I can see, this DVD looks pretty good. There's a slight flatness to the image that seems to be the product of the film's low budget, but otherwise the film looks good. The audio does a fine job with dialogue, and the film's smooth soundtrack comes through clearly with a decent amount of bass. No subtitles or extras are available.
Perfect Combination is a decent little dating comedy that's light on laughs and characterization but gets points for natural performances and lots of heart. It's worth a rental for those in the target demographic, but most viewers can give this one a pass without missing much.
Perfect Combination isn't perfect, but it's not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R