There are only so many new formulas a romantic comedy can take. Soon, the magic of the boy-meets-girl meet cute starts to wear off, and you’re just left with the same old movie, but with different people playing the same characters. The most successful rom-coms tend to follow formulas of their own creation, bringing something new and exciting to the world of love. Netflix’s newest release, The Perfect Date, tries to do just that: but does it succeed?
The Perfect Date follows Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo), a kid from the poor side of town who has big dreams, but not a lot of money to follow them through. After being paid to take a girl (in this case, Laura Marano of Austin & Ally fame) on a date, he devises a plan to become rentable: he’ll go with you wherever you want to go, as whoever you want to go with. Basically, he’s a non-illegal male gigolo who doesn’t have a human pimp but has an app instead. Sound interesting?
Well, in short: it’s not. As ‘different’ as The Perfect Date may seem, it’s the same old predictable romance movie that every girl has seen a million times before. It’s not awful, but it’s definitely not the best. There are plenty more movies on Netflix that’ll provide you with your rom-com fix, and that (probably) won’t be so cheesy and saccharine they’ll make you throw up in your mouth. The same can’t be said for this movie.
It’s as though Noah Centineo has tapped into this otherworldy ability to make girls either fall in love with him completely, or retch whenever they see his name. He’s become a beacon of cheese, dragging around the gauntlet of ‘perfect lead male’ like some kind of overbearing badge of pride. It’s obvious that Netflix realised they had struck gold with his boyish good looks and his charming smile after the overtly more successful To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and rightly so. However, this storyline doesn’t do his potential justice, and it makes more people dislike Centineo than it does make fans out of them.
As far as the cheesy boy stereotype goes, it’s also backed up with the ‘alternative’ girl. You know the one: she’s not like other girls, she probably wears trainers or combat boots all the time and she probably would rather read a book than, maybe, hang out with other people her age. This is fine, if this is how you actually are, but in this movie, Celia (as she is known) is doing it to prove a point. She doesn’t want to be normal, she’s overly obsessed with being cool, not that the character is aware of this, but the writers definitely wanted to make her arrogantly alternative. The only thing that pulls her out of her shell is Brooks, and ultimately, this goes against everything that Celia stands for. Not to mention, Brooks just isn’t a very nice person at all, so their relationship in general is completely unrealistic.
This has become a running theme with rom-coms, not just recently either. Love is becoming more and more toxic, relationships are becoming more and more unhealthy, and people are expecting things that just will not happen. Teenage girls watching movies like this will be expecting this exact outcome every time they develop a crush, and it’s not healthy to end movies with a ‘happily ever after’, if the girl was better off without the boy in the first place.
Despite the unrealistic approach to love of this movie, everything else is superiorly mediocre. The script is meh, the directing is average and the music is the same old music that middle-aged people seem to think teenagers like. The Perfect Date has no soul, no grounding that makes it any different from any other low-budget rom-com with conventionally good-looking leads. It’s a bog standard representation of ideal love, with no real pay-off for sitting through the entire one hour and thirty-minute running time.
So, all in all, there are plenty more interesting, well-written and better cast movies on Netflix that’ll give you your romance hit for the day. Don’t waste your time watching one that’ll leave you feeling exactly the same after watching it: watch one that gives you butterflies every time, and one where the lead actor isn’t a complete idiot. To be fair, that only gives slim pickings.