The biggest problem with David M. Rosenthal’s The Perfect Guy is that it’s so disposable it barely exists. It has all the permanence of a sneeze. My memory of it is already turning ethereal, like a dream. It’s less a movie than a vague notion of one. And this isn’t to say that The Perfect Guy is so much bad as it’s just needless — a needlessness driven by how unoriginal it is. And born out of that unoriginality is a pretty banal and predictable whole with nothing buried within to be even moderately excited about or interested in.
The premise is your basic woman-in-peril nonsense, the kind of recycled junk you’d find on Lifetime. There’s a modicum of budget and some professionalism from everyone around (I mean, everything is well-lit and in frame), but that’s about all you’re getting for the extra cost of a movie ticket. Sanaa Lathan (The Best Man Holiday) plays Leah, one of these busy movie-type professionals who has no real defined job but talks in buzzwords and office-ese. After ditching a dead-end relationship with Dave (Morris Chestnut), she meets Carter, a generous, caring, loving man who treats her well and who her parents like — and who seems like the perfect guy.
But wait! Get this — he’s not the perfect guy! Not at all! He’s actually violently unhinged and manipulative. In fact, he’s far from the perfect guy. He might be the worst guy. As I remember from high school English, this is known as irony. It’s also as clever as the movie ever gets if you’re wondering what level The Perfect Guy is operating on. The rest of the movie goes exactly how you expect it to go. Carter goes all Fatal Attraction on Leah, the justice system fails her, some people die. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary happens and everything goes exactly the way you imagine it will.
Actually, this is The Perfect Guy’s most surprising aspect: It doesn’t even manage to be accidentally interesting. And what’s frustrating is that there are moments in the story that could be expounded on and examined — the idea of the law’s inability to defend women, Carter’s ideal masculinity and the way it manifests itself in violence. But these are just ideas and thoughts, something The Perfect Guy has no interest in. It’d rather just sit there and do what’s expected of it — and nothing more. Rated PG-13 for violence, menace, sexuality and brief strong language.