The Perfect Date (2019) is a Netflix Original romantic comedy directed by Chris Nelson that follows the journey of a young man Brooks Rattigan (played by heartthrob Noah Centineo) in the search for his identity.
Encouraged by his new friend Celia (Laura Marano) and with the help of his currently only friend Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis), Brooks launches his own stand-in dating service app in order to afford Ivy league college, Yale. Brooks then juggles paid dates and friendships whilst trying to impress Yale Admissions and the hot rich popular girl Shelby (played by Riverdale absolute babe Camila Mendes).
Once again Noah Centineo plays the main character in a Netflix RomCom, and although he does it well and ‘it ain’t broke’, it might be time for him to change his tune before he gets typecast further. The film itself is rather good, Netflix never disappoints with its cinematography and storytelling technique.
I found The Perfect Date extremely predictable, even already from just viewing the trailers. Sadly, the token person of colour character doubled as the token LGBT+ character who didn’t even have a last name, nor was his love interest even given a name at all. The storyline was the usual guy pretending to be someone else, but with a great excuse where girls pay him to be someone else through his app. The film shares an actual fun montage scene of different outfits and personality changes for Brooks, and I quite enjoyed it, as short as it was. While on this crazy college fund journey, Brooks befriends a very angsty teen girl, Celia who is ‘too cool and too smart’ for her private school peers. Laura Marano does an okay job with the character, although is still not very likeable and as it turns out, she too is into a guy only for his looks.
Now, I am a big RomCom “Chick Flick” fan and I could see how The Perfect Date pays homage to classic 80’s films of its genre such as Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink. And I understand that The Perfect Date is trying to give the new generation a coming-of-age film with a modern spin; smartphones, hipsters and selfies being all the rage in it.
In The Perfect Date, Brooks is told by everyone; his school counsellor, father, love interest and friend to be honest, humble and real, and obviously loses the love interest momentarily for it (shocker!). The message of the film is ‘to be honest and to be yourself’ and they do send this message bluntly and quite obviously which I appreciated. No need to be cryptic about it as this is after all, a teen film. And although it’s not an amazing movie (I did shine negative light on it as it is very flawed), it’s not terrible either.
If you are curious, I do recommend this film as long as you know that a “RomCom” will always have the same formula which ironically still works. It’s basically like ordering the same dish at your local restaurant. It is the same as always, but still enjoyable. So, if this film is to your tastes, try The Perfect Date and feel like a hopeful teenage girl with this ‘Nasi Goreng’ off the Netflix menu.