The Perfect Guy (2015)

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“I don’t even know who you are anymore.”

I’ve watched roughly 125 new movies so far this year, and The Perfect Guy is easily the most bizarre, peculiar film of the lot. We see the poster with steel-gazed men and a woman’s parted Red Sea of a dress and expect a procedural sexual thriller. A Lifetime movie brought to your local cineplex. Inexplicably though, it’s a male monster mash of happy-go-lucky plot points and extremely dark, borderline sadistic behavior. Little do we know or surmise what is to come, because The Perfect Guy breaks its own rules time and time again, with a forced entry kind of purpose. Its dedication is admirable; its disunity is not.

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Leah (Sanaa Lathan) is a hard-working and well-respected woman in her professional place of employment. She’s tasked with filing an extensive report for…a thing or a place or a person or something. Who knows. Since her longtime boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut) isn’t ready to have kids, she abruptly breaks it off (the quote above is aimed at him, inspiring genuine laughter.) And just like that, her perfect guy enters her life. He’s Carter (Michael Ealy), a handsome and quietly charming man who works in internet security, a convenient career path for a psychopathic stalker. Lesson be learned, ladies.

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Whatever motivations were behind this terribly misguided score and soundtrack will never justify the sheer awkwardness it gives the audience. How are we supposed to know how to feel when scenes shift from light elevator music to screeches of terror? Rather than a shift though, The Perfect Guy long jumps from one extreme to the next, waxing and waning like a strong tide pulling us out to inescapable and drowning waters. Any middleground here has been completely ravaged and decimated by a squall of phony atmospheres. The Perfect Guy is a grating and inept Icy Hot rubdown of a story that should only be applied to the sorest and most aching of minds.

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Men are, in this passive aggressive film, one-note badgers of relentless and possessive companionship. Carter threatens behind closed quarters; Dave does so, to Carter directly, in the open space of a restaurant. The cause and effect of this story device and their machismo character traits is its reduction of Leah to an object. She’s curvy and beautiful, incapable of protecting herself by herself without help from anyone outside of herself. Sexual thrillers are meant to be campy and ridiculous and sometimes work because the intimacy is the key that opens up many a doors, one of which can be fear. That fear doesn’t settle in though. Ealy is horrible in his role, eyes glazed over and smoldering with a half-lit smile. He’s more robotic than his humanoid character in the series Almost Human. Chestnut and Lathan aren’t much better, but only because their characters are so thin. The Perfect Guy is the kind of unintentionally funny thriller that has all the tension of a bungee rope. It’s tight in brief spats of anger and romance, and loosely flops around everywhere else.

“This is what happens 95% of the time.”

Rating: 1 out of 5

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