“The Perfect Guy” is one of those films that grows extremely frustrating as it progresses.
The story, which borrows heavily from “Fatal Attraction,” gets increasingly ridiculous as it moves along but not ridiculous enough to create any unintentionally funny moments. Instead it’s a thriller void of thrills, wasting the time of the cast and the audience.
Sanaa Lathan plays Leah, a career-minded woman who breaks up with her longtime boyfriend Dave (Morris Chestnut) after he is hesitant to commit to long-term relationship plans.
Leah then meets Carter (Michael Ealy), an Internet security expert who appears to have everything she was looking for in a relationship. Their romance evolves, even to the point of Leah taking him to meet her parents. But things take a drastic turn when Carter attacks a guy talking to Leah at a gas station, causing Leah to try to put an end to the relationship.
This only makes Carter more angry, turning him into a crazed stalker who will stop at nothing to get Leah back.
Lathan, Chestnut and Ealy are all good actors, but the script from Alan McElroy is beyond horrible with some serious pacing issues.
Carter’s turn from great guy to psycho is way too abrupt – with absolutely no sign of trouble before the attack. Then the character evolves into crazy mode, including breaking into Leah’s house and kissing the lipstick on a glass she drank from, that it’s hard to believe it’s the same person.
Ealy tries to sell it, but it never works. Even his line delivery, an almost whisper that sounds like Dave Chappelle doing Prince, feels completely off.
Lathan and Chestnut don’t fare much better, playing characters that continue to do some incredibly stupid things.
It all builds to a resolution that is perhaps the craziest of all, a police officer basically telling Leah the only solution to her problem is murdering Carter.
I could spoil how that works out, but I don’t even care enough to make the effort.
Hopefully, if you didn’t see the movie opening weekend, you don’t care enough to make the effort to see “The Perfect Guy.”
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is “Love and Mercy” (A), the Brian Wilson biopic that features two Oscar nomination worthy performances from Paul Dano and John Cusack.
“Love and Mercy” takes place at two important times in Wilson’s life.
Dano plays Wilson in the 1960s, at the height of The Beach Boys’ popularity. While the rest of the bandmates are content with the success and touring, Wilson pushes himself to be more creative – while fighting demons that push him to the brink of a breakdown.
Cusack plays Wilson in the early ‘90s, a shell of his former self after years of drug abuse. Wilson is under the care of Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti), who controls everything in Wilson’s life – including his finances — until he meets Melissa Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks).
As the two try to start a relationship, Ledbetter discovers Landy’s abusive behavior towards Wilson, and tries to help him escape from that abuse and reclaim his life.
Oren Moverman and Michael A. Lerner’s script walks a fine balance between the two eras – with director Bill Pohlad briskly moving the film back and forth.
Even if you barely know much of Wilson’s backstory, “Love and Mercy” is fascinating to watch. Seeing Wilson fight with his demons while constructing “Pet Sounds” is impressive, while the abuse from Landy and his father (who was bitter because The Beach Boys replaced him right before they become huge stars) is heartbreaking.
What takes “Love and Mercy” into the territory of greatness is the two leads – Dano and Cusack. Both bring their own memorable take as Wilson, two distinctly different performances that really show Wilson’s complexity.
This is a must for Beach Boys fans, but one that even non-fans will really appreciate.
“Love and Mercy” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug content and language and is now available on DVD.