The Perfect Score purports to be an anti-establishment heist flick wherein a group of desperate high school students steal the answers to the S.A.T. But in truth this is an MTV film that extreme right-wing moralists can be proud of, as it posits a quintessentially American world of racial, intellectual, and sexual conformity. Getting there is, of course, half the torture. To ease the pain this critic paralleled himself to Giles De’Ath, the droll lead character of Love and Death on Long Island, who finds profound beauty in an adolescent piece of cinematic tripe entitled Hot Pants College II. Used as incisive intertextual commentary in both Gilbert Adair’s original Love and Death novella and Richard Kwietniowski’s subsequent film adaptation, Hot Pants College II finds its 21st-century parallel in The Perfect Score. The Ronnie Bostock ideal is entirely represented by Scarlett Johansson, that stunning young beauty of Ghost World and Lost in Translation, who easily transcends an atrocious dye-job and a misogynistic introduction from the underwear up. Individual pleasures are fleeting beyond this fully formed Blonde Venus. A vague hope of uncommon romantic couplings (interracial and/or homosexual) is squashed by the obligatory finale, which dishonestly favors the Caucasian heterosexual. Indeed, the film’s minority characters are tossed aside seemingly because they display an unconventional pulse. Nonetheless, Darius Miles’s sweet Black athlete and Leonardo Nam’s misunderstood Asian stoner effortlessly steal their scenes with respective doses of neorealist charm and ribald physical humor. Yet The Perfect Score is ultimately a triumph of Aryan fascism, part of an ongoing agenda to deaden impressionable souls with supposed life truths while codifying and containing our dreams. Final evidence: The film cast(rate)s Matthew Lillard as the voice of reason. Pardon me if I don’t Sieg heil.
- Paramount Pictures
- 92 min
- Brian Robbins
- Marc Hyman, Mark Schwahn, Jon Zack
- Scarlett Johansson, Erika Christensen, Chris Evans, Darius Miles, Leonardo Nam, Bryan Greenberg, Matthew Lillard
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