Directed by David M. Rosenthal. Starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, Morris Chestnut, L. Scott Caldwell, Charles S. Dutton, John Getz, Tess Harper, Rutina Wesley, Kathryn Morris
THE PLOT: After Leah (Sanaa Lathan) breaks up with her boyfriend of two years, it is not long before she becomes involved with the charming and handsome Carter (Michael Ealy). After she witnesses her new beau fly into a jealous rage, Leah ends the relationship, but nothing she can do – including going to the police – can make Carter stay away.
THE VERDICT: Remember ‘The Boy Next Door’, which was released in Irish cinemas in February? Well, ‘The Perfect Guy’ could well be titled ‘The Boy Next Door 2’, so similar is the plot to the Jennifer Lopez vehicle.
The cast do well enough with what they are given, but Sanaa Lathan, as Leah, is controlling and manipulative, and seems to have no qualms about throwing herself into things head first, which immediately alienates her from the audience. Michael Ealy plays Carter well enough in the early, charm filled part of the film, but his performance is so transparent that much of this time is spent wondering when this psycho is finally going to give in to his base urges and pick up an axe. The rest of the cast, Morris Chestnut, L. Scott Caldwell, Charles S. Dutton, John Getz, Tess Harper, Kathryn Morris and Rutina Wesley seem to exist solely to have someone for Carter to kill, or for Leah to talk to.
Tyger Williams’s screenplay is based on an earlier story by Alan B. McElroy, but the writer who brought us Menace II Society seems to have become bogged down in familiarity and cliché when approaching The Perfect Guy. As well as being hugely similar to ‘The Boy Next Door’, the film seems to have been inspired by ‘No Good Deed’, – another home invasion flick – which was released in Irish cinemas last November. Leah appears to be a character who cannot live without a man in her life – and gets flustered when she sees a hot guy in a coffee shop – so even though she gets her fight on toward the end of the film, this is far too little, far too late. We never really learn anything about Carter, other than he’s the obsessive type, which does nothing to cement him as a character or round out any of the story,
Director David M. Rosenthal plays the beginning of the film like a rom-com, with pianos consistently plinking and strings constantly swelling on the soundtrack, but when the action finally kicks off, the film feels more like a horror than a thriller, and a very unscary, unsurprising horror at that. The pacing is torturous and the entire film feels like a rehash of so many home invasion films we have seen before.
In all, ‘The Perfect Guy’ is familiar, underwritten and rather dull. The performances are fine, the screenplay is lacking and the direction adequate, but in a film where tension and a strong story are key, ‘The Perfect Guy’ ends up feeling like a morality tale about loving the one you’re with.
Review by Brogen Hayes

The Perfect Guy
Review by Brogen Hayes
1.0Dull & predictable
  • filmbuff2011

    Ah… Screen Gems. The mark of quality. Not. The Sony division has built up a reputation for producing such screen gems as the hilarious The Roommate and the ridiculous Obsessed. But their films are so bad that they’re often enjoyably bad to boot. The ironically-titled The Perfect Guy is no different. Thirtysomething Leah (Sanaa Lathan) and her boyfriend of two years, Dave (Morris Chestnut), have reached a crisis point in their relationship. She wants to get married and have children, he doesn’t want to rush it and wants to wait for the right moment. She can’t wait any longer, so they break up. Three months later, Leah has a second encounter with smooth operator and security expert Carter (Michael Ealy), after an initial encounter in a coffee shop. He romances her and everything seems fine… That is, until he completely snaps and beats up a guy at a petrol station for even talking to her. She quickly puts some distance between them, but Carter won’t take no for answer. In fact, he seems to live on a different planet altogether, where stalking and constant harassment is fine by him. Her cat disappears, he hacks into her computer and sends an inappropriate e-mail to her workplace from her account. That’s only the beginning. Detective Hansen (Holt McCallany) warns Carter to back off with threats of a restraining order, but Carter just ignores it and continues to stalk Leah. When Dave re-enters the scene and reconnects with Leah, then Carter really goes off the rails. If he can’t have her, then no-one can… The Perfect Guy is straight from the Hollywood playbook of stalking screen psychos. Oh right, Carter’s not a psycho – he just has bipolar disorder and can’t take rejection from a woman. Tell that to the judge. Poor Ealy – he must have really needed the money to take this part. Carter is a completely unsympathetic character with no redeeming values. He bottles it all up and then lets it out in erratic, violent bursts of rage. Ealy is actually a good actor, so the blame should probably rest on screenwriter Tyger Williams, from a story by Alan B. McElroy. Williams and director David M. Rosenthal don’t do Lathan any favours either – her character seems a bit thick for most of the film, until she finally figures out that she just needs a really big gun. It’s so predictable and Rosenthal signposts everything so far in advance that you might as well fast-forward through to the end. We’ve been here before – many times before, so The Perfect Guy has nothing new to say. Yet, for all its mediocrity, there’s something undeniably fun and unintentionally funny about the whole film. It achieves such a level of screen stupidity that you can’t help but be swayed along by its dubious plot. That’s not a recommendation, but if you like an occasional slice of B-movie trash cinema like this reviewer, then The Perfect Guy is a hoot. **