Movie Review: The Perfect Guy
By Ben Gruchow
September 16, 2015
The Perfect Guy is a bad movie, but it does not stop there. Having exhausted its limited supply of oxygen as an overcooked and superficial potboiler, it consumes our remaining patience with lazy filmmaking and repellent morality. When we are not bored by the proceedings, we are dismayed by their suggestions. In a sense, this is exactly what the trailers have promised; in another, it’s less than. In no instance is it greater than.
The movie is not bad in any new or unique way; it’s mostly content to hit the same notes and repeat the same offenses of any standard-issue thriller about the saintly and all-things-to-all-people boy/girlfriend who ends up scoring far lower on the Sane-O-Meter than one’s significant other really should. Truthfully, I would not be surprised were I to learn that the movie does not, in fact, even exist - so sleepily and lifelessly does it execute the beats of this particular template.
Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan) is a lobbyist who breaks up with her boyfriend David (Morris Chestnut) for reasons. Okay, it’s because her big goal in life is to have a baby and David isn’t willing to commit. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter what the reason is. Anything sufficiently dramatic will be accepted, as long as it opens the door for Carter Duncan (Michael Ealy) to sidle in and sweep her off her feet. This he does; it is revealed that he may have a slight case of psychosis during the interminable first act of a film that is comprised of nothing but interminable acts.
The movie points to the idea of Carter being a violent psychopath, but this is a misdirection on the part of the filmmakers. Carter is clearly a warlock; there is no other possibility, given his ability to be anywhere, take anything, hack into everything. He works in IT security, which in the movies means he knows all the best ways to break into another company’s secure e-mail system, or set up an entire covert video-surveillance network in the course of one solitary nighttime visit.
When Leah witnesses him violently beat a man over a simple misunderstanding, she breaks up with him and then helpfully shuttles into damsel-in-distress mode so that she can be threatened and stalked at random times and places. The police can’t do anything because Carter is just too good at covering all of his tracks under the guise of legality, although a cursory background check - like the one undertaken a bit later on - would have produced lots of past evidence of stalking, criminal activity, what have you.
You know where this is going. If you don’t, the movie’s trailers and posters have thoughtfully provided all of this information well in advance, making the first 60 minutes of a 90-minute film into a sluggish waiting game. About the only thing we don’t know is the exact physical mechanics of where this all ends up, and those can be easily guessed if you’re so inclined. The movie’s setup provides us nothing new, but we knew that going in. What we could have hoped for was an upending of convention, a different tone or texture than what was pitched, or even a skillful technical exercise.