"Imperfect, But Pro-Family"
What You Need To Know:
THE PERFECT MAN is a light comedy with moral lessons on prioritizing family and recognizing self-worth and one’s gifts instead of one’s dating status. Eventually, Holly convinces her mom to acknowledge her mistakes and their harmful effects. Ultimately, romance takes second place to values such as family, self-worth and facing one’s problems without running away. Predictably cheesy moments aside, THE PERFECT MAN is a fairly entertaining way to spend an afternoon, with objectionable material kept to a minimum.
(BB, Ro, Ho, L, V, S, N, A, M) Strong moral worldview, light Romanticism which is later criticized, with themes of deception, notions of soulmate as life fulfillment, the value of a person’s self-worth, and homosexual character; no obscenities or profanities but one use of “Oh my God” as an exclamation; man is punched in the face, girl threatens younger sister, girl starts fire to distract, but later regrets it; four light suggestive sexual references, homosexual character makes number of subtle jokes, reference to “skin virginity” (i.e., piercings, tattoos); cleavage/midriff-baring clothing, man with shirt off; some alcohol use; no smoking and no drug use; and, lying, deception, over-flirtation and self-centeredness all rebuked, one mystical reference to the moon as magical, and value of family emphasized.
THE PERFECT MAN stars Hilary Duff as Holly Robinson, a teenager whose short years have been dictated by her mother Jean’s (Heather Locklear) love life, or lack thereof. A single mom of two daughters, Jean is perpetually on the lookout for a husband. Holly is all too familiar with the cycle of the search for “the one.” When a few weeks go by without a good catch, Jean settles for a dud, gets her heart broken, quickly packs up her children and moves on to the next hunting ground.
The latest place for Jean is New York, and Holly and Zoe (Aria Wallace) adjust again to new schools and lives. Determined to stay in one place for more than two months, Holly invents a fictitious PERFECT MAN to romance her mom. Holly’s creation mirrors her friend’s Uncle Ben (Chris Noth), the owner of a local restaurant. Her mother is thrilled by the flowers, emails and pictures from “Ben,” and Holly is relieved to see her family happy, if only for a short while. At last relaxed in her new environment, even jaded Holly eyes a romance with a friend from school. However, when the real Ben crosses paths more and more with Jean, the deception gets out of hand. As Holly struggles with the damage control from her lies, she knows she must find a way to confess the truth to her mom.
As a summer movie goes, THE PERFECT MAN maintains a lively pace, but the plot hinges on a romanticized view of life. Jean daydreams her way through the movie, hoping for a soulmate to arrive and immediately complete her existence. The realist Holly is criticized for “not believing in love” and being cynically resistant to its ways. It is Holly, however, who communicates the valuable messages of the story. She condemns her mother’s excessive flirtation and embarrassing desperation to find a man. Jean’s self-centeredness becomes the target of Holly’s anger. She hates that her mother is blind to the faults of men and that Jean allows her own desires to interfere with Holly and Zoe’s lives. She convinces her mom to finally acknowledge her mistakes and the harmful effects they have had on her daughters.
Holly’s words eventually hit home for Jean, and the movie takes a turn for the better. Romance is placed second to values such as family, self-worth and facing one’s problems without running away. Resolving to be a better role model for her kids, Jean puts into practice the knowledge that she does not need a man to be significant as a person. Sadly, this sentiment is only a step in the right direction. The movie lacks any mention of God as the true provider of worth and guidance. The only reference to God comes in the form of an exclamation from an openly homosexual character.
THE PERFECT MAN is a light comedy with moral lessons on prioritizing family and recognizing worth in oneself and one’s gifts instead of one’s dating status. Hilary Duff takes on another typical teenage role with Holly and her antics, but other minor characters add some much-needed humor and energy to the movie. Predictably cheesy moments aside (and there are more than a few), it is a fairly entertaining way to spend a summer afternoon. Rated PG, the movie keeps objectionable material at a minimum, but there are some light suggestive references and a homosexual character.