‘The Perfect Date’ How to Half-Ass a Film in 2019


Out of all the hackneyed RomCom setups for the Netflix algorithm to reproduce: the dating-for-hire concept isn’t automatically a terrible retread. There’s an opportunity to update a decades old premise with a progressive viewpoint as dating culture, technology and currency intertwine. The Perfect Date decides that would require too much work, so it proceeds to rip-off anything and everything in recent memory, and go with what’s easiest even if it doesn’t make sense. That’ll be $12.99/ month.

Netflix made this film in collaboration with AwesomenessTV. A production company whose website contains nothing but a logo and social media links. Their highest rated YouTube video is a reprint of the How to Train Your Dragon 2 trailer. An animated film I recently saw for the first time, quite inferior to its predecessor yet more grounded and real than this film. That should tell you all you need to know about The Perfect Date which is nothing because the film sucks. With such a generically fitting title the movie will be replaced as Google’s top search result within 6 months.

Star Noah Centineo had his profile raised in the best way possible, being the love interest in a successful RomCom: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Here he plays that role only more half-assed while he waits for better material that may never come. His onscreen father played by Matt Walsh (Veep) is such a pro he literally plays his University professor role lying down. Together they endure screenwriting convention that’s been played out millions of times and make it look like it’s the thousandth.

The character Brooks Rattigan is poor but wants to go to Yale. Working at a sub shop, which is just the word “sub” listed twice, he overhears a customer complaining he has to take his cousin Celia to a dance. She is the kind of girl who is more at home reading a book alone in a cafe than having to go out dancing. Which was definitely written in a Tinder profile the screenwriters and director discovered during their research. Like many motivations in the film; why Celia needs to go to a dance or why Brooks is getting paid to escort her is never made clear. The movie feels like it was made by much older people trying to consider what young people today might be like. None of it is believeable. You can see the difference decent writing makes when paired with bad direction from the director’s previous film Date & Switch. The movie is swiftly edited but still manages to bore. Like Roger Ebert said, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”

For a movie based on a book called “The Stand-In” nothing seems to stand out.

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