It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Sometimes a movie will include a subversive line of dialogue that shows somebody was paying attention. In "Picture Perfect,'' that line comes when the devious woman tells good guy: "This sounds like something out of 'The Patty Duke Show.' '' That hits the nail on the head. And it's a shame the plot is so contrived, because parts of this movie are really pretty good.
The film features Jennifer Aniston of TV's "Friends'' in her first leading movie role, as Kate, an ad executive who has good ideas, but projects the wrong image. She dreams up a campaign, but when the client buys it, she's not included on the account team. Why not? Mercer (Kevin Dunn), the agency head, says it's because she's not engaged and not in debt, so there's nothing to stop her from leaving the company. Then her best friend Darcy (Illeana Douglas) dreams up a scheme: She should claim to be engaged to a guy from Boston.
She has met this guy from Boston just once. His name is Nick (Jay Mohr), he videotapes weddings for a living, and he's in love with her. In a nice, subtle touch, we can sense the moment he first notices her, because we're looking through the point of view of his viewfinder at a wedding when his camera focuses on her, and freezes. Kate contacts him and offers him $1,000 to come to New York for a weekend, pose as her boyfriend, and break up with her publicly. That way she'll get the job and be able to explain her freedom. It's at this point that she uses the Patty Duke line, and then he turns down the money.
I'm not sure "Picture Perfect'' paints a very accurate portrait of the requirements that modern ad agencies have for their employees; it sounds more as if Kate is being considered for a job as a deaconess. But never mind. The plot thickens when she immediately has an affair with the office bad boy (Kevin Bacon), who thought she was "too nice'' until she got "engaged,'' but claims he's not attracted by the thought that he's stealing her away from her fiance.