The Perfect Man movie review, Mark Rosman, Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Aria Wallace, Chris Noth. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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"The Perfect Man"
0.5 stars
96 minutes | Rated: PG
WIDE: Friday, June 17, 2005
Directed by Mark Rosman

Starring Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Aria Wallace, Chris Noth, Carson Kressley, Mike O'Malley, Ben Feldman, Vanessa Lengies, Amy Acker

  • Hilary Duff
  • Heather Locklear
  • Chris Noth

  •  LINKS for this film
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    Duff plays a teenager cruelly toying with her mom's heart by inventing 'The Pefect Man' — isn't that adorable?

    By Rob Blackwelder

    "The Perfect Man" is a cutesy-poo, happy-go-lucky little movie about horrible, irresponsible, selfish people.

    A blindly disconcerting fantasy aimed at girls in their early teens -- no one else could stomach it -- the movie stars Hilary Duff as Holly, a perky 16-year-old who isn't smart enough to realize that inventing a secret admirer to woo her lonely, romantically desperate mom is not just a gross invasion of privacy, but also downright cruel.

    She sends flowers, and exchanges flirtatious emails and instant messages, toying with her mother's heart. She models the mystery man after a friend's handsome uncle (even using his picture, thus running the risk of Mom awkwardly bumping into the guy) and enlists another friend to call and pretend to be him.

    As her scheme spins out of control, she causes $100,000-plus in damage to a friend's restaurant (which would certainly have to close for repairs) and ruins a perfect stranger's wedding in an insultingly contrived misunderstanding. But Holly doesn't learn a single lesson from any of this and never apologizes -- not even to her mom -- because these terrible blunders that could destroy people's lives are all supposed to be just oh so adorable and funny.

    It's hard to imagine what kind of warped Hollywood psyches wouldn't be able to recognize that this premise is -- at the very least -- in appallingly poor taste. But director Mark Rosman (coming off of Duff's last vehicle, "A Cinderella Story") and the picture's quartet of paint-by-numbers screenwriters don't stop there. It seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    Holly's imaginary matchmaking is motivated by the fact that her stinking-of-desperation mother (Heather Locklear, finally starting to look her age and playing the role well) is so self-centered and reckless that she pulls up stakes and drags her kids (Holly and her geeky-cute 8-year-old sister) across the country whenever she gets dumped or cheated on by one of her string of loser boyfriends. The family has landed in a studio backlot version of Brooklyn this time (insert bad accents here), and Holly's meddling is a half-baked attempt to stay put for once.

    When "The Perfect Man" isn't busy dressing up rampant family dysfunction in candy-coated sweetness and light, it seems to be doing cartwheels in an attempt to make every detail of the plot as clichéd as possible, as when Holly arrives at her new school and meets a new best friend and a dreamy, charming, confident but non-threatening boy (ooo! -- and he's an artist too!) before the bell rings for her very first class. And in an apparent attempt to make the film grating and dated too, Rosman gives Holly her own internet blog (as an excuse for twinkly narration) and tosses in an extended cameo by "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's" stereotype-flogging screaming queen Carson Kressley.

    This putrid movie -- which might have made a decent dark comedy if it weren't so busy trying to be cute -- has only two things going for it:

    1) Hilary Duff has a realistic body type, and looks lovely with hips and a 27- or 28-inch waist, so if she must be a role model, at least she's one that won't inspire young girls to put their fingers down their throats.

    2) Through the sheer power of a his good performance as the unwitting uncle used to bait Holly's mom, Chris Noth ("Sex and the City") manages to make his cardboard cutout of a "Perfect Man" seem the most human of all the movie's characters.

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