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Awesome: 10.53%
Worth A Look: 5.26%
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3 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Perfect Man, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Even Homer Simpson couldn't swallow this brand of Duff"
1 stars

Just about a year ago, I declared that the Hilary Duff vehicle “A Cinderella Story”–a dreadful riff on you-know-what–was so remarkably awful in every way, shape and form that it might serve as the flashpoint for a cultural youth rebellion. I saw kids taking to the streets and rounding up anyone who had ever appeared on the cover of “Cosmo Girl” or “Teen People” (with the exception of the always-delightful Mandy Moore) and sending them off to re-education camps while singing along to Green Day’s “American Idiot”. (Okay, the album hadn’t actually come out at that point, but if it had, I would have cited it.) What I didn’t see, however, was a set of circumstances that would lead to that film being considered closer to a high-water mark in her career instead of the absolute nadir. In other words, I didn’t see “The Perfect Man” coming. Frankly, now that I have seen it, I wish I could still say that I don’t see it coming. And yet, here it is–a film so indescribably awful, even by teen-junk standards, that the best thing one can say about it is that by coming out the same weekend as the glorious “Batman Begins,”it will offend the eyes of relatively few viewers in theaters before ancillary markets gives viewers a wider range of ways in which to skip seeing it.

The film is an allegedly complex and romantic web of lies, deceit and misunderstanding–all enacted by a group of people lacking the combined I.Q. that would allow them to tell the difference betwixt shinola and certain other substances. Duff plays Holly, a 16-year-old monster whose unbelievably self-absorbed and emotionally crippled mother (Heather Locklear–a casting choice that will make many people of a certain age suddenly feel very old) has a disconcerting tendency to date losers out of a fear of being alone. When these relationships eventually fall apart, Mom does not do the expected thing, which would be to go on to the next person in what must be an endless line of people who would crawl over glass to date someone who looks like Heather Locklear. No, she immediately packs up her belongings, along with Holly and younger daughter Zoe (Aria Wallace) and moves to another state. As the film opens, the family is uprooting again for what promises to be a paradise where Mom can find an ideal man–Brooklyn. (And since this is a movie, Mom is able to find a spacious, charming and affordable apartment without breaking a sweat–or, presumably, explaining what must be a spotty-at-best tenant history.)

Taking a job in a local bakery, Mom catches the eye of a doofy fellow baker (Mike O’Malley), a dope who seems to have never grown out of his high-school days–his idea of a big date is to pick Mom up in a restored 1980 Pontiac and take her to see a Styx tribute band. (In what can be considered either irony or a desperate cry for help, the Dennis DeYoung impersonator is played by DeYoung himself.) Holly is horrified by the dope–either because of his taste in music or the fact that he looks like the kind of guy who might take a shot at the mother-daughter trifecta–and vows to keep them apart. With a couple of school chums–a Scott Baio-esque comic-book geek (Ben Feldman) and Amy (Vanessa Lengies), the kind of brassy Bronx girl that would shove the head of anyone resembling Hilary Duff into the nearest toilet just on general principles in the real world–she hits upon the tried-and-true idea of creating a fake suitor for Mom to keep her happy and away from the dope. For a model, they use Amy’s hunky Uncle Ben (Chris Noth), a restaurant owner who looks, talks and acts like a living Dewar’s Profile. Using him as an unsuspecting muse, Holly goes about wooing her mother (and yes, it plays just as creepy as it sounds) through the kind of complications and pitfalls that will seem familiar only those people who have turned on a television sitcom once in the past 50 years.

How predictable is it? In less than 96 minutes, the film manages to jam in numerous tearful confessions, a big scene in which two people who shouldn’t meet keep barely missing each other in a crowded place, a sassy black character who exists only to give advice and support to the pasty white people, a gay character (“Queer Eye” alumni Carson Kressley) that exists only to make sure everyone in the audience knows that he is gay, a disrupted wedding, a tearful reconciliation and yes, even a scene in which the characters pop on a CD and sing and dance to it. (I couldn’t tell you what the tune was as this was the point when I fled to the lobby to get some air and reconsider my employment options.) In fact, the only surprising thing is the fact that it took a combination of four credited writers to come up with a screenplay that screams “auto-pilot” from its opening frames. What is also surprising is that the screenplay is credited to Gina Wendkos, who demonstrates none of the flair for overcome a trite storyline that she demonstrated in the hugely entertaining “The Princess Diaries.”

“The Perfect Man” is a film so awful and devoid of anything that could even loosely be described as entertaining that it makes me hope that Duff will move away from acting and concentrate on her musical career. It makes me wish that I could go back in time a few weeks and tag on an extra half-star to my review of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” a teen-oriented film that, for all of its flaws, at least had occasional flashes of ambition and charm. This, by comparison, is a dreary slog in which all involved go through their paces with all the energy and flair of a weary tour group trapped in a remote hotel with bad weather and worse company–a lethargy matched only by those bored or deranged enough to stick this film out to the bitter and boring end.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12449&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/16/05 23:34:00
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User Comments

9/07/08 Toni Can't believe how piss poor this movie was 1 stars
5/10/07 Cat Piss i love this movie!!!! its fuckin awesome!!!! Chris noths hot, man 5 stars
3/05/07 David Pollastrini Hilary is hot! 2 stars
6/18/06 Ryan_A Even the targeted 13 year-old girls know it's crap. Hilary Duff has a man-jaw. 1 stars
6/03/06 William Goss An utter travesty for which the word 'tepid' is too merciful. 1 stars
3/22/06 tabiya karim total crap 1 stars
2/05/06 Anthony Feor Hillary Duff should consider retirement 1 stars
12/16/05 Hilary This movie is the best. Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear look like sisters in the movie. 5 stars
11/21/05 Mark Consistently Stupid 1 stars
9/30/05 Leah Really good movie for the family. 4 stars
9/15/05 Chris Far from perfect 1 stars
9/13/05 Jonathon Holmes Dear Hillary, ALL your fucking movies suck! 1 stars
8/24/05 danielle this movie was the best one yet! it was perfect 5 stars
8/10/05 GoodMovee That was an awesome movie!! 4 stars
8/06/05 Duffyboy666 Note to all Pop Stars. YOU CANT DO MOVIES! 1 stars
7/29/05 Ray hOlLy CrAp 1 stars
7/20/05 Chris Hey, its the mediocre modern version of "Mermaids"! 1 stars
7/08/05 tash hillary duff is great lol i am her biggest fan!! 5 stars
6/30/05 8=====D Hilary duff sux at movies 1 stars
6/22/05 Penisballs The enormous bulge in Hilary Duff's crotch became disconcerting after a while. 1 stars
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  17-Jun-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 01-Nov-2005



Directed by
  Mark Rosman

Written by
  Gina Wendkos

  Hilary Duff
  Heather Locklear
  Chris Noth
  Mike O'Malley
  Ben Feldman
  Vanessa Lengies

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