The Perfect Score

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/03/2004


Two out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Neither as funny, nor as clever, nor as enjoyable as it thinks it is, The Perfect Score only manages a “C-“. Must try harder.

After gaining both nominations and awards for her wonderful performances in Lost In Translation and Girl With A Pearl Earring, Scarlett Johansson can truly be said to be the Hot Young “Serious” Actress du jour, which only makes it sadder that she missed out on Oscar nominations.

At a recent press conference for Lost in Translation, producer Ross Katz remarked that what he liked about Scarlett was the sensible choices she was making and that he was glad she wouldn’t be going into the equivalent of Generic Teen Comedy IV. In which case, Miss Johansson must have been desperately hoping that The Perfect Score would go straight to video, as it’s about as generic as crappy teen comedies get.

High-School Losers Attempt Heist

The film stars Chris Evans (thankfully, not THE Chris Evans) as Kyle, a bequiffed young high school kid who has always wanted to be an architect because, er, he used to make model buildings with lolly sticks or something. He has set his sights on Cornell University, but unfortunately, his grades and SAT scores aren’t high enough. So he rounds up an eclectic gang of similar losers and underachievers and they decide to pull a heist in order to steal the SAT scores and cheat in the exam.

Directed by Brian Robbins, the movie is a bizarre hybrid that can’t decide if it wants to go for all-out smutty jokes and cleavage shots or whether it actually wants to say something serious about the SAT system (Scholastic Aptitude Tests – the rough equivalent of GCSEs) that is inherently biased towards white middle-class males.

Similarly, it tries to blend movies such as The Breakfast Club (the characters roughly correspond, with one left over), Mission Impossible and Ocean’s 11, with little success or originality.

Your enjoyment of the film will very much depend on your tolerance for Roy, the Asian stoner character played by Leonardo Nam, who also narrates the movie - it’s almost as if the film is trying too hard to turn various stereotypes on their heads. His constant sniggering and mugging continually threatens to derail the film – it would be fine if he were actually funny, but, well, he isn’t.

Breakfast Club Influence

The other actors are mostly fine and it’s easy to see the Breakfast Club influence in the characters of prim and proper Anna (played by Molly Ringwald-alike Erika Christensen, from Swimfan), wannabe basketball star Desmond (Darius Miles) and Scarlett Johnasson’s Ally Sheedy-esque dress sense.

Evans himself is fairly bland, but Bryan Greenberg has a nice line in likeable goofiness, along the lines of Xander from Buffy (who he also resembles) and there’s also an intermittently amusing extended cameo from Matthew Lillard as Kyle’s waster brother.

The movie might have been more enjoyable if it had lost its smutty streak – for example, there’s an entirely gratuitous shot that looks up Scarlett Johansson’s skirt at her pink pants. Contrast that with Lost In Translation’s glorious opening credits sequence of, well, Scarlett’s pants and you can see just how huge the gulf between art and trash is. Or something.

In short, The Perfect Score has an attractive cast and the occasional laugh, but is pretty disappointing overall and is let down by an over-reliance on puerile humour and a below average script. Let’s hope Scarlett learns her lesson…

Film Trailer

The Perfect Score
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Content updated: 18/10/2019 06:18

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