[Screen It]


(2015) (Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy) (PG-13)

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Suspense/Thriller: A woman must contend with her new boyfriend not being the guy he initially seemed to be.
Leah (SANAA LATHAN) is a 36-year-old lobbyist based in Los Angeles. Despite her successful career, she wants to get married and have kids, something her boyfriend of two years, Dave (MORRIS CHESTNUT), isn't ready to do. Accordingly, she dumps him. Months later, she's rescued from a drunken come-on at a bar by Carter Duncan (MICHAEL EALY), a network protection and corporate espionage expert.

The two hit it off and quickly become an item, somewhat to the slight jealousy of Leah's friends, Alicia (RUTINA WESLEY) and Karen (KATHRYN MORRIS), who think he might just be the perfect guy, something eventually agreed to by her parents, Evelyn (L. SCOTT CALDWELL) and Roger (CHARLES S. DUTTON), after Carter charms the both of them.

But when a stranger approaches Leah at a gas station to talk about Carter's car, Carter grabs and beats up the man, much to her horror. That makes her question both him and their relationship, and despite his efforts to smooth things over, she wants to call it quits. That doesn't sit well with him, and he starts repeatedly calling and stopping in to see her, despite her obvious lack of interest in continuing anything with him.

When he eventually leaves her a somewhat threatening note that if he can't have her, no one will, that's enough for local cop Det. Hansen (HOLT McCALLANY) to have a restraining order filed against him. But that only further enrages Carter who then sets out to ruin Leah's life, particularly when Dave returns into the picture and those two become an item again.

OUR TAKE: 3.5 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

It always amazes me that if someone is going to take the time, effort and money to make a new version of an old and fairly worn-out movie genre, they'd do something unique or original with said material. Alas, that doesn't happen with "The Perfect Guy."

It's in the same vein as those old domestic invasion/stalker movies that were popular in the 1980s and '90s where an initially normal and pleasant enough person turns out to be a possessive, manipulative and increasingly dangerous psychopath. Here, that character is played by Michael Ealy who takes the place of the recently dumped Dave (Morris Chestnut) in the heart, mind and bed of our protagonist (Sanaa Lathan).

Before anyone (or you, if you're the kind to shout out to the screen at characters in movies like this) can yell "Look out!" or "Be careful!" or "Didn't you read the screenplay?," Ealy's character spins so fast into psychosis that he nearly becomes a cartoon villain. About the only interesting thing is trying to guess how he will meet his demise. Will it be with the candlestick in the conservatory? Or poison in the library? Oh wait, that's from the game Clue, something the filmmakers don't really have when it comes to doing anything interesting with this well-worn material. "The Perfect Guy" rates as a 3.5 out of 10.

Reviewed September 11, 2015 / Posted September 11, 2015

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