It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Is there no one to step forward and simply say that Heather Locklear's character in "The Perfect Man" is mad? I will volunteer. Locklear plays Jean Hamilton, a woman whose obsessive search for the "perfect man" inspires sudden and impulsive moves from one end of the country to another, always with her teenage daughter Holly (Hilary Duff) and Holly's 7-year-old sister, Zoe (Aria Wallace). Apparently there can only be one Perfect Man candidate per state.
As the movie opens, Holly is preparing to attend a prom in Wichita when her mother announces "it's moving time!" Her latest boyfriend has broken up with her, so they all have to pile into the car and head for Brooklyn, where mom providentially has a job lined up at a bakery -- a job that pays well enough for them to move into an apartment that would rent for, oh, $4,000 a month.
Holly keeps an online blog named GirlOnTheMove.com, where she chronicles her mom's craziness for all the world. "Post me on Match.com," her mom tells Holly after they arrive in New York, but Holly thinks maybe it might be fun to see if her mom just -- you know, meets someone. Jean's way of meeting someone is certainly direct: She attends a PTA meeting at Holly's new school, and suggests special PTA meetings for single parents and teachers. In desperation, Holly creates an imaginary online friend for her mom, who says all the things a woman wants to hear.
How does Holly know this is true? Because she's made a new friend at school (she's always making new friends, because she's always moving to new school). This friend, named Amy (Vanessa Lengies), has an Uncle Ben (Chris Noth) who runs a bistro and is a bottomless well of information about what women want to hear, and what a Perfect Man consists of. Holly names the imaginary friend Ben, and then sends her mom Uncle Ben's photo, and recycles what he tells her into the e-mail. Example of his wisdom: "When a woman gets an orchid, she feels like she's floating on a cloud of infinite possibility." If I met a woman who felt like she was floating on a cloud of infinite possibility after receiving an orchid, I would be afraid to give her anything else until she'd had a good physical.