Dog’s Movie House: “The Perfect Guy” Slick But Predictable!
Howdy Folks! It’s The Kendog!
I find it interesting that African American cinema seems to be engaged in the remaking of films traditionally tailored for white audiences. Some of these films work well strictly on their own merits. The redo of “About Last Night” for example, featuring Kevin Hart, was extremely entertaining. That said, simply switching races doesn’t guarantee a fresh take on a movie. As an example of this, I submit “The Perfect Guy” a film that provides an African American spin on the “Fatal Attraction” sub-genre of thriller. Unfortunately, the change in race is the only noticeable element in this slick yet formulaic exercise.
“The Perfect Guy” tells the tale of Leah (Sanaa Lathan) a successful lobbyist who, after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut), hooks up with a handsome, charming IT professional named Carter (Michael Ealy). Things go swimmingly at first, with Carter even charming Leah’s hard-to-impress father (Charles S. Dutton).
Unfortunately Carter has a jealous side that reveals itself in a horrifying gas station beat down of a guy who was simply admiring Carter’s vintage car. After this, Leah calls things off, but Carter goes from jealous to creepy to downright scary in a heartbeat, stalking Leah day and night until she is forced to take matters into her own hands.
The script for this movie (by Tyger Williams, “Menace II Society”) is paint by the numbers at its worst. You know what’s coming well before the characters do and the events in this film aren’t anything you haven’t seen before a dozens of other films. It makes for a somewhat frustrating experience as there are opportunities to shake things up a bit from a narrative standpoint to make “The Perfect Guy” standout from other movies of its kind. Instead, the film plays it entirely too safe to be more than mildly diverting.
This doesn’t mean “The Perfect Guy” isn’t without its charms. Director David M Rosenthal does a good job of setting up the action and creating a nice sense of claustrophobia as Carter continues to increase his creepy stalking behavior. It also helps that Rosenthal gets nice performances out of Lathan, Chestnut, and especially Ealy, playing against his nice guy image as the psychotic stalker. Ealy’s performance is especially impressive given that the script saddles his character with such an about-face that, without Ealy’s commitment to the role, would be completely unbelievable. Carter goes from charming to crazy so fast you’d think a portion of the movie was missing.
The movie sure looks good, and there’s a nice turn by Holt McCallany as the detective attempting to help Leah within the borders of the law. A conversation late in the film in a coffee shop seemed to especially resonate with the audience. Yet despite these advantages, “The Perfect Guy” fails to rise above its clichéd and formulaic script. If you’ve never seen “Fatal Attraction” or another film like it, “The Perfect Guy” may be right up your alley. Otherwise, you’re probably better off spending your movie dollars someplace else. 2 1/2 Out Of 5 on Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!
“The Perfect Guy” Rated PG-13 for violence, menace, sexuality and brief strong language.