I really can’t tell you how it happens. Maybe I have just seen too many movies and I am out of good ones. That is doubtful, but maybe. Maybe I give different types of movies a chance when I should know better and just move along. Whatever it is, I end up watching more terrible movies than good ones.
Last night was a perfect example. For whatever reason, I had The Perfect Score in my Netflix queue. My fiancée will claim up and down that it is because Scarlett Johannson is in it, but honestly, Scarlett is fourth billed and not really all that much to look at in this one.
Let’s get back on track. I am not sure what I was expecting from this movie. It is a high school movie about stealing the SAT test answers. It didn’t have the kind of cast that would have me thinking it was a real classic or anything.
Chris Evans is one of the main characters and while his name doesn’t sound familiar, you might remember him from Not Another Teen Movie, or as the Human Torch in the abysmal Fantastic 4 movie. He stinks as an actor and took the role of leading this pack of unlikely teammates to scoring the answers to the test.
This movie makes his role in Not Another Teen Movie even funnier. In that movie, he mocked all kinds of teen dramas like Varsity Blues, American Pie, and The Breakfast Club, and then in The Perfect Score they model their entire story line after some combination of the above movies. They have different kids from different social circles working together like The Breakfast Club. They have the athlete complex (played by Darius Miles) where we don’t know what it is like to be covered in the newspaper, as glorious as it may seem. The prissy smart girl, the stoner, the average dude with a heart of gold, and the slacker chick who is the way she is because her parents suck.
Everyone’s favorite Swimfan, Erika Christensen, gets to play the prissy smart girl. On first glance you might think she is hot, but for whatever reason, she isn’t. She is like a combination of Julia Stiles and Kate Hudson, except not in a good way, if you can imagine. Her acting is also not very good. She gives a chill-inducing performance and caused me to be embarrassed for her in multiple scenes.
One scene in particular, when her goody goody character is happy to have escaped the confines of being just “the girl with the second highest GPA in the senior class” gave me the bad kind of chills. She is dancing around and celebrating and it brings to mind Reese Witherspoon’s psychotic character from Election. And this movie is not cut out for that kind of sarcasm and/or dark comedy. It is just sincerity done badly.
Darius Miles is worse than horrendous in this movie. In terms of NBA’ers in movies, this might be an all-time low. Shaq was like Pacino in Blue Chips compared to what Darius Miles did in this flick. Ray Allen is like Phillip Seymour Hoffman with his performance in He Got Game compared to Darius Miles in The Perfect Score. Shaq (again) was more believable as some kind of Robocop in Steel than Darius Miles was in basically playing himself as a high school kid all over again.
That leaves Bryan Greenberg, Scarlett Johansson, and Leonardo Nam, who plays the stoner, to save this movie. And while these three were definitely the best, they didn’t provide enough to carry this movie into safety. What we are left with is a horrible movie, with an even worse cast, that achieves pretty much zero magic and only a couple of true laughs throughout the film. Compared to other teen movies, this just doesn’t cut it. And don’t think that I am holding this movie up to an impossible standard. I am not. I don’t need Citizen Kane but I do need something more than this.
Regardless, I think we need a picture of Scarlett Johansson to wash away all the residual badness left over from The Perfect Score.
That’s much better.
I think next time I will just rent She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, or Can’t Hardly Wait rather than trying to find some other kind of teen movie that will actually be bad in all the right ways.