A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
“This is the part of the movie where you kidnap me and sell my organs, right?” Sanaa Lathan’s character playfully asks Michael Ealy’s on their way to an underground nightclub in “The Perfect Guy.” Nothing nearly so wacky or grotesque goes down in this romantic thriller, but you’ll wish it would.
“The Perfect Guy” is decent trash that could have been delicious trash with a little more daring. Director David M. Rosenthal’s film—which, tellingly, Sony did not screen for critics before opening day—is slick, glossy and sturdily made in a way that’s reminiscent of similar sexy-stalker fare from the 1990s. (It’s vaguely Verhoevenish.) It features gorgeous actors in stylish settings with flattering lighting and fashionable clothing. Los Angeles shimmers in the daytime and glitters at night, and much of the action goes down in Lathan’s serene mid-century modern house in the hills (Silver Lake, probably) with floor-to-ceiling glass, minimalist furnishings and generous use of chunky Austin stone.
It’s all very tasteful—too much so, perhaps—which makes the few crazy moments stand out as unintentionally funny rather than cohesive parts of a whole. You keep hoping that an insane Tyler Perry movie will burst free from these understated trappings, but no such luck.
The overqualified, magnetic stars do their best with this tepid material, however. (The script comes from Tyger Williams, whose last screenplay was 1993’s “Menace II Society.” Rosenthal, meanwhile, previously directed the appealing “Janie Jones” and the dreary “A Single Shot.”) Lathan, who’s incapable of finding a dishonest moment on screen, stars as Leah Vaughn, an L.A.-based lobbyist who seems to have it all: brains, looks, power, a gorgeous home and a loving, longtime boyfriend in architect Dave (the ubiquitous Morris Chestnut). After two years together, Leah is ready to get married and start a family; Dave, who’s been surrounded by divorce his whole life, isn’t. So that’s the end of that.