Tuesday, 15 November 2016

SCREEN GEMS THRILLERS: The Perfect Guy (2015)

And now this is more like it. Like clockwork, Screen Gems figured out that there was an audience out there that was not being catered to and decided to stake September as the patch to put out another thriller targeting the African American audience.

Leah (Sanaa Lathan) is a  successful businesswoman with a good boyfriend, Dave (Morris Chestnut). Though her life seems perfect, all is not right. At 35, Leah is ready to start a family, but Dave is not. This impasse causes them to break up. Depressed, Leah soon meets another man, Carter (Michael Ealy) and Leah quickly falls for the mysterious stranger. At first he seems to be the man of her dreams, but very quickly the 'perfect guy' turns out to be something else...

Technically the most competent of the movies in this 'series', The Perfect Guy actually tries to develop some suspense. The director seems to know that peripheral action and use of wide angles and focus work better than jump scares.

With increased competence however, comes a lack of silliness — there’s a great beat where it is revealed the ‘perfect guy’ hiding beneath Sanaa Lathan’s bed which is worth a giggle or three, but otherwise there’s nothing to match the epic cat fight at the end of Obsessed or Taraji P. Henson repeatedly smashing stuff over Idris Elba’s head.

The performances are a bit rote — Lathan is a fine lead but Chestnut is stuck in the colourless ‘good boyfriend’ role and Michael Ealy is miscast as Lathan’s psycho boyfriend. With his big eyes and light voice, he is never as intimidating as the movie wants you to think he is. With a different script and director he could have been a nice mis-direct, but like ObsessedThe Perfect Guy is not interested in build up or subtlety — the reveal of his psychosis happens in an instant. There’s no gradual escalation to make it more ambiguous and scary.

Overall, it is something of a step-up: the characters are not nearly as stupid as in the previous movies,  but it suffers from the same lack of imagination. 

Previous reviews

Obsessed (2009)

No Good Deed (2014)

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