Netflix’s The Perfect Date is pretty much what I expected. I of course expected to see all or most of the usual romantic comedy tropes, and the typical high school stuff that goes along with it. While there is all that stuff, the main reason this film isn’t a complete clichéd bore is because of the cast. The chemistry they’re able to have while sharing the screen is what makes this whole thing watchable. Without a charismatic cast this thing would’ve been dead on arrival. Having said that, it’s still very clichéd and doesn’t seem to have learned lessons from other, better high school films of recent years.
Noah Centineo stars as Brooks Rattigan, who’s one big goal is to go to Yale. He and his friend figure out a way for him to make a good bit of money so he can afford to go; they do this by creating an app called “the stand-in”. This app will be a way for girls to request Brooks as a date and even pick exactly what they want him to act like and do. But in perfect rom-com fashion, as Brooks is doing this, he starts to have feelings for a girl which complicates everything.
So first off, I honestly do like Noah Centineo, I think he’s a very charming and obviously good looking actor and makes for a worthy lead. For the most part, he does make for a good star to follow. Laura Marano plays his romantic interest, Celia. I hadn’t seen Marano in anything before but I was very pleased with her performance and actually thought she outshined Centineo a bit.
Odiseas Georgiadis plays Murph, Brooks’s best friend. I really loved him here and wanted to see more of his character. He has a very natural/fun energy about him and it makes him interesting to watch. Also, his character has a really cute interaction with a guy he has a crush on and it’s just adorable; I wanted more of that also.
While I’m talking about this character, I want to make a request for more romance films focusing on gay/lesbian characters. Time and time again, we see them being reduced to the supporting roles and if we really have come this far in our fight for equality, what’s holding us back? Especially after the marvelous Love, Simon I think it’s time. I also think following Murph would’ve made for a more engaging film personally. The main issue with The Perfect Date is that it is just so been here, done that. Now I wanna be clear in saying that just because a film is somewhat predictable doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad.
But the thing about rom-coms is that this formula has been hammered into the ground so many times that if you’re going to follow it yet again, you have to add some unique ingredients. There has to be something that pops, something that will keep the audience from groaning at the clichés. I want to mention Love, Simon again because I think that it is the best young adult/rom-com of our generation. It really renewed my interest in these high school films. That film set a pretty high bar for all that follow; it felt so fresh, so diverse, and much deeper than just the typical stuff. This film does not have that feel and instead feels like it’s just going through the motions. Now if they’d spiced up that usual formula then maybe it would’ve had more impact.
I don’t want to make this out to be a total waste of time because truthfully it does have it’s moments and I wasn’t totally bored. But the issue is that the more interesting characters are pushed to the back, the material is so beat for beat predictable, and they didn’t feel much of a need to add their own spice to the rom com formula. I would suggest seeing Love, Simon instead if you haven’t because it does this kind of thing so much better, has a more diverse (and more interesting) cast, and is caught up with the times in that it tells LGBTQ stories and doesn’t consider them to be supporting/forgettable.