Whenever he wants to see the perfect man, Judge Brett Cullum simply has to look in the mirror. Right on the wall behind him is a full-scale poster of David Hasselhoff.
Jean Hamilton: Give us a word with tic in it.
This movie is guaranteed to make any man in the near vicinity flee, perfect or imperfect as he may be. It's a "chick flick" that starts off with unbelievable scenarios, like Heather Locklear can't find a man, and Hilary Duff has trouble making friends. It also asks us to believe that Chris Noth is a single, romantic restauranteur who's never been married, and Carson Kressley ("clothes" from Queer Eye For the Straight Guy) is a gay waiter who hits on construction workers. Okay, I'll give you that last one. But the rest? Come on.
Facts of the Case
Because Holly Hamilton (Hillary Duff, The Lizzie McGuire Movie) has an alliterative name (initials are "H.H."), she is marked as one of the "damned" who will have an extremely hard life (a favorite personal theory of mine not revealed or advanced by the film). Her peculiar "name curse" manifests by having Jean (Heather Locklear) as a mom, a single woman who feels she has to move practically across country with her two daughters in tow every time she breaks up with a man. I can relate actually. My mother chose to move to Germany because she couldn't break it off with a guy who wanted to marry her, and then moved to Japan when a guy she was seeing married someone else. At least Jean Hamilton only trots her daughters around the continental United States. Could be worse girls—you could be globe trotting with Ms. Cullum. So now Holly decides to find her mother "the perfect man" before she has to move again. Luckily, Mom has relocated them from Wichita to Brooklyn, so the odds are in her favor this time. Unfortunately, Holly hasn't watched Sex and The City and doesn't realize the shortage of men in New York City available for single women. Had she watched the HBO comedy, she would also know the man she picked for her mom is none other than "Mr. Big" (Chris Noth,Sex and the City). Can Holly convince her mom that Chris Noth is the guy for her? Or will she just have to move again before the gay waiter (Carson Kressley) agrees to give her a makeover?
The Perfect Man is the perfect reason romantic comedies have gotten such a bad reputation. It's sappy, unbelievable, and cloying in equal doses. It's more concerned with the teenager, and becomes a single mom middle age crisis film aimed at the teen set. That's a damn hard sell, and The Perfect Man doesn't ever seal the deal. It turns everyone in to a teenager, from the eight-year-old sister to the forty-eight-year-old "perfect" man. Every character reacts to situations as if they were an out-of-control, hormone raging, pubescent girl. The mom, Jean Hamilton, falls for a "secret admirer" who refers to her first name as "a word that used to make him think about denim." Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out Hilary Duff's character is the one writing these notes, but Locklear is so desperate to find a man she'll believe anything. Things only get more unbelievable from there.
The Perfect Man is a fairly recent release, so it should have the perfect transfer. Unfortunately, the transfer is far from it. Colors are fine, but the widescreen transfer is soft and lacking in clarity. The audio, presented in surround, is atrocious. Overall the movie is delivered at soft levels—except for the music. The high end of the mix suffers terribly, and the final song at the climax proves problematic. Freeze problems seem to be cropping up on yet another Universal release. Right at the layer change, which occurs an hour and ten minutes in, my player started hitching. I could get around it by skipping forward and rewinding back, but if Universal discs have given you problems before you can expect them again. I actually enjoyed freezing on Heather Locklear or Hilary Duff, because at least then I was spared the bad dialogue, and I could remember how much I like them in other projects.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Extras are plentiful, and if for some bizarre reason you enjoy the movie, you'll love the fun, fluffy special features. Heather Locklear and Hilary Duff talk about playing mother and daughter. We get silly outtakes, twelve deleted scenes (including an alternate opening and closing), an "on the set" feature, and a full length commentary with the director Mark Rosman (previous Duff epics such as A Cinderella Story and several Lizzy McGuire episodes) and executive producer Adam Siegel. One of the most amusing special features is a featurette with Carson Kressly taking us on a tour of the wardrobe department.
If you're a Styx fan there is a sequence in the movie where the real Dennis DeYoung fronts a "tribute" band. It's kind of humorous, but also a touch sad. De Young looks very aged, but happy to be doing "Mr. Roboto" in a headband once again. Luckily, from the scene selection menu you should be able to get there directly if you're curious. It gets the only laugh in the movie when he emerges from beneath a huge Mr. Roboto head. I wish the movie had been about the "tribute" band instead of the unrealistic leads.
God awful romantic comedies like The Perfect Man make me groan, and I was writhing on the floor screaming "make it stop" before fifteen minutes were up. I'm not your typical guy in that I can sit through a romantic comedy happily (see my glowing reviews of In Her Shoes and Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season and rent or buy those titles instead), but this one pushed me to the edge. I had to start drinking beer in my boxers and snacking on pork rinds just to get through all ninety minutes of The Perfect Man. It turned me in to the perfect Neanderthal. Hell, by the end of it even Carson Kressly was at a Jets game. This movie has the power to turn you off men, women, or any of the carbon-based life forms.
Guilty of being the worst kind of romantic comedy, the brainless kind. Hillary Duff and Heather Locklear deserve better. Somebody get them a TV series quick, because here's solid proof studios are cranking out crap that makes broadcast television look smart.
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Scales of Justice
• Featurette -- Mom and Me
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