Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: David M Rosenthal
Starring: Morris Chestnut, Michael Ealy and Sanaa Lathan
Synopsis: After breaking up with her boyfriend, a professional woman gets involved with a man who seems almost too good to be true. (IMDB)
The classic scenario of an obsessive third party lover never gets old in Hollywood. From Fatal Attraction to Obsessed, I think the audience has all gotten their fair dosage of twisted love triangular drama. In a lot of cases we see a man veer off with an attractive and seemingly normal woman, only to find out that she is a psychopath and likes to boil people’s rabbits in their spare time. Now in the progressive millennium we see the other side of the spectrum where men get their turn to show their crazy (finally). Jennifer Lopez even experienced it in The Next Door Neighbor.
In The Perfect Guy we have a well known cast to kick off the movie. Morris Chestnut plays the unfortunate bystander boyfriend Dave to the target of the obsession, Leah (Sanaa Lathan). And last but not least we have the psycho himself, Carter (Michael Ealy). Leah and Dave are going through a rough patch in their life (typical) and Leah is now in limbo on whether or not she sees him long term. So what happens next? A fight ensues, names are called and now Leah is *gasp* single! This is when psycho prince charming comes and sweeps her off her feet, telling her everything she wants to hear. He says the right words and does the right moves and BAM he’s got her.
I’m the man of your dreams
They go on dates, go to a night club and he even gets to meet the parents. Things seem to be off to a good start. She has a new hotter guy (Sorry Morris) and he is basically perfect, almost too perfect. We all know it’s going to take a turn for the worst because in stories like these they always do. Carter then blows up dramatically at a gas station almost killing a guy who was really into his car. We already know that this is the first tantrum leading up to his psychopathic ways (thanks to the trailer). Leah now has to go through lengths to get this sexy crazy maniac off her butt!
The casting was great because after looking at Michael Ealy, what woman in their right mind wouldn’t find him intriguing? The intense stare from his striking blue eyes and heart melting smile is what made his character even more alluring. It’s safe to say that the acting was the best part of this film. Michael Ealy somehow convinced me that he was seriously insane. He went from playing a humble good guy character in Think Like A Man to every woman’s nightmare in The Perfect Stranger. The direction his character was taking was really impressive and the intensity of himself never left the screen. I was waiting to see what he was going to do next.
Oh don’t mind me here, I’m just stalking
I already expected Sanaa Lathan and Morris Chestnut to have great chemistry together since they were one of the IT actors in late 90’s African American centered films. For most of the viewing, I felt as if the pacing of the film was very rushed which left an unsettling feeling. I saw Leah and her boyfriend Dave get into an argument and next thing I know they have broken up. Mind you, the argument they had was not the type of “last resort” argument you’d expect to view. We see the bar scene where Carter tells the guy to “walk away” (also in the trailers) and they are instantly inseperable after that moment. I saw no build up of any type of relationship between any of the characters making the plot seem very contrived and rushed.
Part of that had to do with the way the scenes were cut. We have Leah and her boyfriend Dave fighting and after they break up it cuts to “2 months later” and we immediately see Leah meet the Carter dude. I felt like it happened so fast that I wasn’t able to let what happen fully sink in. Even after he has the big blow up she starts to cut him off. Realistically and I say this from a woman’s standpoint, when we are really into a guy we are often in denial of some red flags. We’ve all done it, hell I’ve done it. You see the signs but it can’t be that bad….right? Uhh..he just had a bad day. I would have liked to see him do more things to lead up to him being crazy. Even though Michael Ealy successfully executed being a psychopath, I suppose I wanted to see more. I wanted to see more build up and anticipation.
Let me stare at her like this…she wants me
Not to mention that Sanaa’s character is supposed to be in her mid 30’s? Again, realistically especially at her age she would make some more excuses as to why he acted crazy. I wanted to see possible one or two more scenes showcasing his behavior for her to finally say “Okay, I need to get out of this.” I felt as if she was just so sure and positive that she needed to leave. When the truth is, she’s a woman in her mid 30’s who wants children and I believe that she would have made more excuses for the guy until she finally decided to cut him off in my opinion. They could have added in a scene where her girl friends are telling her “That is not cool. You need to leave!” It’s always easier to give a clearer opinion from the outside looking in. The direction that was taken with that was definitely a writing decision that I feel made it flawed.
With that being said, the script kind of gave me a Lifetime movie feel to it. Because it was so rushed and not really developed, I did not get a deeper sense of the characters and their main motivations behind their actions. That what I look for in movies and that is why frankly I like villains so much because there is so much backstory to them. Michael Ealy’s character did not give me that. Fortunately he is an amazing actor but his character did not give him much depth other than him acting crazy and using a fake name. I wanted to know more. There’s always I mean always a reason why the protagonist is the way they are. We may not get the full description but even a morsel of why the way they are is what makes them even more intriguing.
Shhhhh I’m in the middle of being crazy here!
He changed his name? Okay why? Were there women before that? What’s going on with his family? I was left with so many unanswered questions that I feel could have made the character and plot even stronger. We only got to see a couple of his bizarre moments with him breaking and entering and so forth. David Rosenthal’s direction is very unoriginal and not unlike what we’ve seen before and I knew that going in. What really captures me in a movie are twists and for this I feel as if everything was pretty much predictable and straight forward. I knew there was a psycho, I knew that he was going to eventually stalk her and harm whoever got in his way but I was wanting to see at least something that would make me go “Ahh HA!”
Overall, this was not a bad movie nor was it excellent by any means. The acting was amazing thanks to the veteran casting. Even though the plot went at a fast paced, I was always convinced by the emotions of the characters throughout the entire movie. If I had a choice, I’d wait to see it on Amazon or Netflix simply because I feel as if it wasn’t executed as well as it should have been. With an all star cast and a Hollywood favorite plot, it’s best to take it and run with it. The storyline is something we’ve seen before now it’s time to make it bigger and better. That’s what audiences want nowadays and I feel that is what this film lacked.