In The Perfect Man, my arch-nemesis Hilary Duff is forced to move to a different corner of the country whenever her mother breaks up with a man. On the move once again (this time to New York City, ever closer to the Slant office), Jean (Heather Locklear) and daughter Zoe (Aria Wallace) force the Duffster to partake in some car game where you have to yell out words with the letters I, T, and C in them. Royally pissed that she had to leave behind yet another set of friends to accommodate her mother’s preposterous defense mechanism, Holly (Duff) cleverly blurts out the words “tragic,” “psychotic,” and “sarcastic” in quick succession. In the spirit of this game, The Perfect Man offers its audience a “lunatic” vision of Brooklyn (spit-and-polished streets, Californicated schoolchildren, a gorgeous brownstone apartment Jean can afford on a baker’s salary), characters that are “idiotic” (as Jean’s sassy co-worker, Caroline Rhea is defined entirely by her bad New Yawk accent—much in the same way that every PG-rated gayism that comes out of an embarrassing Carson Kressley’s mouth drives home the point that he likes to touch other men’s penises), and a plot that suggests a tween “bedlamite”‘s vision of Cyrano de Bergerac. In order to keep her mother from hauling their asses out of another town, Holly—not having paid attention during a class lecture apparently centered entirely around Sir Walter’s Scott’s “tangled web” potent quotable—attempts to distract Jean from her latest boyfriend by contriving the perfect man, modeled after her new best gal pal’s uncle (Chris Noth). Countless lies later, the perpetually blogging Holly (“Girl On The Move” to all her friends in the blogosphere) reveals herself to be just like her mama when she rejects the advances of some cutie patooty who nurses a major She-Ra Princess of Power fantasy for her. To Duff’s credit, she not only cries well but also makes her use of the word “self-preservation” in casual conversation sound convincing, and while it actually feels as if her character could have spilt out of Locklear’s womb, there’s really only one good scene in the film: When Holly attempts to disconnect her mother’s phone, her sister Zoe rides her like a horse. I and C be damned, the rest is simply retarded.
- Mark Rosman
- Gina Wendkos
- Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Chris Noth, Mike O'Malley, Ben Feldman, Aria Wallace, Carson Kressley, Caroline Rhea
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