The Perfect Man


Hilary Duff as Holly Hamilton
Heather Locklear as Jean Hamilton
Ben Feldman as Adam
Chris Noth as Uncle Ben
Mike O’Malley as Lenny
Aria Wallace as Zoe Hamilton
Amy Acker
Dennis DeYoung as Dennis DeYoung Impersonator
Mazin Elsadig as Dexter
Marvin Kaye as Construction Worker
Carson Kressley as Lance
Vanessa Lengies as Amy Pearl
Ashley Newbrough as Marjorie
Michelle Nolden as Amber
Darryl Pring as Squonk
Caroline Rhea

Despite being very predictable, sickeningly sweet, and aimed straight at the “chick flick” target audience, The Perfect Man does have some amusing moments to offer thanks to a good supporting cast and a story that sets up some fun scenes.

Holly Hamilton is an internet savvy teen who keeps tracks of her adventures with her flighty mother on an internet blog. Her mom, Jean Hamilton, picks up and leaves town whenever a romance goes sour. Holly, her sister Zoe, and her mother have moved many times. Their latest move takes them to Brooklyn where Jean starts work in a bakery. Holly begins making new friends yet again, but she’s unsure if her mother will pick them up and move them away again.

Holly and her friend then cook up a scheme to keep Jean in New York a bit longer than usual. They create a secret admirer who is the perfect man in order to keep her mother happy. Using advice on women from her friend’s Uncle Ben, Holly creates a more and more elaborate fantasy for her mom. But is Jean so desperate to find a loving companion that she’s willing to settle for the first guy that treats her nice or will she wait for her true perfect match? And what will happen when Holly finds romance herself?

The Perfect Man is rated PG for some mildly suggestive content.

What Worked:
I have to admit that I was really dreading going to see The Perfect Man. If ever a movie fell into the category of “chick flick”, this is it. The audience was 80% female and it was jam packed with people. But despite the fact that I was in no way the target audience for this movie, I found it to be tolerable and even entertaining at times. Yes, it’s shocking. Even with the reviewers seated next to me mocking the movie the entire time, I found it to be better than I expected. Maybe my expectations were so low that it couldn’t help but be better.

I think two things made this chick flick tolerable. The first was that it had a good sense of humor. A lot of the laughs involved the characters being embarrassed in one way or another. Holly is repeatedly embarrassed in public by her mother. Jean is embarrassed in public on a date with Lenny. Both women find ways to embarrass themselves. It goes on and on. There are also a number of amusing scenes where Lenny, a worker from the bakery, tries in vain to win the heart of Jean. What better way to impress Heather Locklear than to take her to a Styx concert, or at least a Styx impersonator concert? It’s little touches like that here and there that manage to deliver laughs for both young girls and their mothers who go see this film together.

The other thing I liked about The Perfect Man was the internet angle. Holly narrates her misadventures on a blog. She also impersonates “the perfect man” over e-mail and in an instant messenger session. While this was done better in movies like You’ve Got Mail, it’s still entertaining, especially when Holly has the tables turned on her.

The cast is pretty good. They managed to feature a lot of TV star favorites. Heather Locklear is good as Jean, but it’s a little hard to imagine her as a woman who can’t find a good man. Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) has a small role as one of Jean’s co-workers. Chris Noth (Law & Order) plays Uncle Ben. While he’s probably the least interesting character in the movie, he becomes endearing because he puts up with the young girls constantly badgering him. Then you have Mike O’Malley (Yes, Dear) as Lenny. He steals most of the scenes he’s in and generates a lot of laughs thanks to his relentless pursuit of Jean and his love of the 80’s.

As for the other young cast members, Hilary Duff is decent as Holly Hamilton. She’s cute, but she doesn’t exhibit a lot of personality. That’s OK, though, because she’s good at looking embarrassed by her mother. I actually found this to be one of her best movies simply because she’s surrounded by a good supporting cast. Ben Feldman makes a good love interest for her as Adam. As a fellow comic book geek, I had to root for his character, but it’s hard to believe a high school girl that looks like Duff would entertain the idea of getting involved with a comic fan.

What Didn’t Work:
The Perfect Man has several problems. First of all, it’s predictable. You can guess the ending by just looking at the movie poster. A couple of times I thought the movie was going to take a left turn and surprise me, but it didn’t. It pretty much stayed with the formula for these kinds of movies. It didn’t help that the trailers revealed most of what the movie had to offer.

Another problem is that it took me a while to warm up to Heather Locklear’s character. It’s a bit hard to respect a woman that picks up and moves her family any time she has a bad break up. It’s a selfish thing to do to her kids and an immature thing to do as an adult (except under the worst of circumstances). Jean didn’t have any legitimate reason to move and it was a bad example for her kids. It was really late in the movie before I liked her.

The Bottom Line:
The Perfect Man is really a movie for mothers and daughters to go check out together. They are the target audience and they will enjoy it most. If you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy or a chick flick, this will suit the bill whether you’re young or not so young. If you’re the unfortunate date of a girl who wants to see this, there’s no need to kill yourself. The movie is tolerable.