Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Perfect Date


The newest team-up between Netflix and Noah Centineo, and this time Noah is the lead instead of the love interest! Brooks is about as poor as a high school student in a rom-com can be. Read: his car is beat up and his dad can't afford his college dreams. He dreams of being Ivy League and spends all his effort in looking good to them. So much so that he's never really developed a personality of his own.

Besides being a super nice and caring person. His fatal flaw is that he's oblivious when it suits the script!

This manifests into situational comedy when he takes his frenemy's cousin Celia (Laura Marano) to a school dance for pay. Light-bulb: an app where girls in need of a respectable chaperone can hire him and choose his personality. Cue hilarious outfit montage. The money helps with paying for Yale, but he still needs to get in. And when he sees the lovely Camila Mendes, he decides a girlfriend would be nice, too. Can he do it all without pushing away the grumpy but honest Celia and his best friend Murph (Odiseas Gerogiadis)?

Well, you can probably predict the way it all goes from there. But you probably also know that the point of movies like this is not the final destination, but how charming the journey can be. Most movies would have to worry about their scripts and scenes, polishing them until the lines and the situations are as cute as humanly possible, cross their fingers and hope it comes across well on screen. But this movie has Noah Centineo, and Noah Centineo has good chemistry with everyone and is incapable of reading assembly instructions for a bookcase without sounding energetic and charming. So, this script was average rom-com fare. Good premise, nothing special in content; but one good casting decision later, it's a guaranteed win.

You know it's true.

There was one point in the movie where Brooks is on a date with a girl he's clearly meant to not have any chemistry with. Awkward pauses galore, and neither character really picks up on the vibe of the other or understands what they're saying -- and yet -- watching it you get a distinct feeling that they get along and are comfortable in the moment. I had to laugh at that. None of the other characters were anything special, but there's innate enjoyment to be had in watching Noah interact with anyone. I liked the idea of the grumpy girl too, to balance his happiness, but ultimately there wasn't much power behind her. The best scenes were between Brooks and his dad (Matt Walsh).

Plot-wise there were a few memorable moments, and a few that were frustrating -- in the normal, misunderstanding, unrealistic, fabricated but harmless rom-com way -- but mostly it was nondescript. I've seen four Noah Centineo movies off Netflix: To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a stand out; Sierra Burgess is a Loser tries extremely hard and is unique though flawed; SPF-18 is terrible, but at least hilariously so; and this, while perfectly enjoyable, is also the least remarkable of all.

"Least remarkable" Noah Centineo movie; still worthy of a recommendation. 

Fans of the genre and fans of the actor will have a fun time. It could've been improved by leaning harder into the premise, which was the unique aspect, and by cutting the more unrealistic moments, but I won't lose any sleep over wasted potential. It had plenty of cute moments and a few genuine and sweet ones too; and had me happy and actually laughing at the humor throughout. Not the perfect date, but with its goal to please a broad audience instead of personalizing for one, it's close enough.


  1. I really enjoyed this one ('Boys' is still my favorite). Imperfect, yes, but I liked the concept and of course, the chance to see another entertaining romantic-comedy, which I think Netflix is doing pretty darn well. :)

    1. I agree -- To All the Boys was a step above but that doesn't make ones like this less worth watching. Netflix seems to be well on it's way to revitalizing the teen rom-com genre!