Thursday, September 24, 2015

Movie Review #313: "The Perfect Guy" (2015)

Movie"The Perfect Guy"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: David M. Rosenthal
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
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Leah (Sanaa Lathan) has just broken up with her long-time boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut) over his unwillingness to commit to marriage and kids. One night while waiting for her friend at a restaurant bar, she is rescued from the unwanted advances of an obnoxious drunk trying to pick her up by Carter (Michael Ealy), a man she met a while back at a coffee shop. Carter pretends to be her boyfriend to chase off the obnoxious guy. Needless to say, she and Carter hit it off as he is very charming and seems like the perfect guy. Her friends like him, her parents like him, and she thinks he might be the one, until one evening at a gas station when Carter severely beats a man who he saw talking to Leah, even though he was just innocently admiring Carter's Dodge Charger. Leah immediately breaks it off, but Carter will not be dissuaded so easily as he begins to stalk and harass her even after Leah rekindles her relationship with Dave. 

"The Perfect Guy" is the second "Fatal Attraction"-style movie to come out this year, the first being the wretched, atrocious film "The Boy Next Door." Despite many similarities to the aforementioned abomination, this film does manage to be at least somewhat effective when it comes to thrills and relationship chills. A lot of that effectiveness has to do with how creepy Michael Ealy is as the stalker ex-boyfriend Carter. He is the primary reason this film is watchable since some characters seem either pointless or useless, and we're looking at you, Morris Chestnut, you beautiful son of a bitch, you might have the looks, but you were pointless in this film. Ealy has this creepiness factor to his look, and we mean that in the best way possible. Something about his eyes framed in many scenes are particularly unsettling as he does everything he can to keep Leah, played by Sanaa Lathan, in his life, even if it means breaking and entering, stalking, or even murder. From the moment he steps innocently enough onto the screen, we know he's going to set Leah's life into a tailspin, potentially taking those she loves the most down with her. Sanaa Lathan does a pretty good job as Leah, though with most films like this, they "let" the female character make the necessary stupid mistakes to make harassing her as easy as possible. This is not a flaw on the part of Lathan, just the writing staff, and Lathan performs decently with what she has put in front of her in terms of a script. Unfortunately, a couple of good performances does not a good movie make, and there are many contrived, expected, and cheesy moments from the get-go. One in particular has to do with Carter instantly appearing behind someone after being in a completely different place, making it seem as if he has the ability to teleport like he's Houdini or something, all so the film can deliver a nice boo-type of jump scare to the obviously suspecting audience. Another things common with these harassment films is that the police are always portrayed as completely inept at their jobs, impotent in their abilities to help the public at large, forcing the protagonist(s) to take the law into their own hands in a grandiose finale. This movie is no different and we see the ending coming from a mile away, apart from one extra plot point in between its beginning and end.

Even though there are many cliche instances here, and it's a story we've seen numerous times before, sometimes better and definitely sometimes worse, there are enough moments in "The Perfect Guy" which offer a good level of creepiness and some strong, tension-filled scenes and interactions between characters. Michael Ealy is at the top of his game right now and it's nice to see him step outside of the comedy genre and into a meatier role, we just wish this movie could have done something a little different to distinguish itself among the rest of the "No Good Deed" and "Fatal Attraction"s of the world.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 19%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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