Updated: May 26, 2019
Bad dancing is a highlight of this newest teenager rom-com called "The Perfect Date". The movie is about Brooks (Noah Centineo) whose main goal in life is to go to Yale, to be a student at Yale... but he has no idea what to study at Yale, he just wants to be there because it's fancy. He also wants to have a fancy car and even a fancy girl on his arm (but only after he sees her). He's poor, that is his chip, but not that poor considering he has a car, has a house with his Dad and there is money just not over the top amount like the rich people. However, there is a subtext that he could want to be super rich because his Mom left his Pa for a rich man... so that would make more sense from a teenage point of view.
Any way Brooks and his friend, Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis), make an escorting app where Brooks goes on 'dates', gets paid (with money, only money), and gets on the pathway to Yale. To do something or another... Brooks didn't plan that far ahead. In my day you decide what to study and then where to go even if it is a general degree... but I guess that is too old school. The client pick the "personality" that Brook needs to take on in order to make the date "perfect". We only see snips of these dates well... we see him in different costumes that is more it. But was a scene where he was required to play a douche for a date and that was bad. But there were a few other scenes where he was training this one girl on how to go on dates which I quite liked since that is what I would use that app for. This training helped her out in the end, which was a nice way to show a different use of this app. Another different way which I would like to have seen is Brooks on a "date" with a homosexual, it doesn't have to be a whole scene just a snip to show the versatile of the app and dating.
The app further shows that Brooks is a people pleaser and tells people what he thinks they want to hear. His guidance consular at the beginning directly points that out by asking him who he is while he writes his college essay letter. She sets up the theme of the movie from the get go by telling us it.
Anyway, what you would expect from a teenage rom-com is all here. Boy gets popular girl but sees that female friend, Celia (Laura Marano) is a better fit. Boy abandons friends because- busy, but they make up. Boy almost gets into Yale (it is implied kind of, even though he did lie) but decides to go else where which is cheaper and "more him" (I guess that is a bit different). What is quite cool about this rom-com is that the boy falls for the popular girl from another high school, yes two high schools that aren't rivals... gisp.
The character of Celia was quite good and she was a bit of a highlight for me and Brooks was quite well played as well. You could see the friendship between these two people, which is quite cool. Brooks is a guy who does not know who he is which is something we are told from the beginning but he can be witty and confident (even if it is a bit cringy with the fake breakup, which was better played by Celia since Brooks did cross an obvious line) which we are shown. He is a charming fellow and you root for him in a way to find himself and try to figure things out.
The theme of this movie is that it is okay to not know who you are and what you want and that is the journey, this is kind of what his Dad tells him which is a good lesson and a well performed Dad-Son moment. But the movie seems to rely a bit too much on tell not show. Tell us that Celia has a hard shell but a soft inside, tell us that Shelby (Camila Mendes) knows her life to a certain point (to be fair she only had like 4 to 5 scenes, from the marketing you may have thought differently), show us that best friend, Murph, likes someone and then tell us that he does, tells us the Celia is a hypocrite. Tell us that Brooks and Celia mimic each others movements. It is not really needed and showing could be a better way to go in some instances.
So the acting was fine, characters were at most times relatable except when the best friend, Murph, freaks out with Brooks after he gave Brooks 'permission' to do his job??? That was random and forced. The pacing was good in the first half but the second it felt sped up a bit. Like: fake break up- kiss popular girl- see that in fight with best friend- have talk with random old wise lady about true love- go on 'bad' date with popular girl- get exposed and tell truth- real break up- try to get with female friend. She says no which was a new curve that was awesome, but everything was either too fast or that there was like filler between the key frames.
There were nice moments like the two leads talking in the car (a lot), the friendships between the characters while they had pizza, working with his best friend. This is just a standard rom-com that is nothing too new, the two high schools and Celia saying 'no' is new but that about it. Check it out if you like this stuff but plan your own perfect date instead since this movie actually gives you no ideas.