WIRTB Review: The Perfect Guy

In the past couple years, we've gotten a lot of sexually-charged "psychological thrillers." From Fifty Shades of Grey--which played more like a romantic drama than a delve into complicated BDSM relationships--to Addicted--which played more like 28 Days meets Pornhub--we've seen a lot of these films. It's kind of like how when one superhero movie does well, we get a shitload of horrible ones (hi Catwoman, Elektra, every Fantastic 4 movie, etc.) to bank off the hot ticket. 2015's The Perfect Guy is not the exception, but the follower of the rule. But, was it really that bad? Considering star Sanaa Lathan actually dealt with a stalker in real life, I really don't want to rip on this movie.


When the finale to your movie seems like you ripped it off from the Lifetime Movie of the Week--and still managed to fuck it up, do we really need to ask this question? When every part of the movie that could be halfway worth a watch is given away in the friggin' trailer, do I really need to review this movie? But, of course, that's what I'm here for. I'm Speed on the Beat and this is WIRTB Review where I review the crap so you don't have to. Speaking of that trailer...

Leah (Sanaa Lathan) wants marriage and happiness, so she hops onto the first guy who seems to want the same. In other words, she's afraid of being a spinster. Her long-term boyfriend, Dave(Morris Chestnut), doesn't want kids, so he seems to be portrayed as the asshole that eventually sees the errors of his ways--until crazy mo-fo Carter/Robert (Michael Ealy) kills the hell out of him. And the aforementioned Carter/Robert is the perfect guy who ends up being a friggin' lunatic. If I'm not mistaken, it was "classic movie magic bipolar" that drove him to be this way.

For fuck's sake, movie people! As someone who suffers from BD, I can attest that bipolar is a lot more complicated than nymphomaniac, "I'm gonna murderize the world" manic days and suicidal, depressive, "fuck life. Let's take tons of drugs" days.

But, back to the movie itself.

Either way, they all suck.

It starts off as so many movies of this ilk do. Sidney--I mean Leah, she's all "I want kids." Dave's like "eh...let's chill a bit," even though they're both in their thirties--being played by folks in their mid-to-late 40s--so they break up. Leah eventually meets Carter, who works with an IT firm. Right off the bat, you know something's off--even if you didn't see the trailers. He works in IT and most IT folks in movies are either terrorists, uber nerds, or stalkers with a mean streak who are one step away from completely spazzing the fuck out and mowing people down.

...guess which one Carter is.

Of course, they break up. Honestly, though? They didn't really feel like they had any chemistry to begin with. So, ignoring the craziness of Carter, I'd be perfectly fine with them breaking up. There could've been a better movie in that they break up and she and Dave legitimately work things out. Hell, she could start dating someone else. But, since this is a stalker movie, we've gotta get some stalking!

After the break, Carter, the crazy stalker man who gained, to a degree, a key to Leah's house on the first date (seriously, who the hell leaves a key taped under a rock and shows it to folks?!), does stalker things. And because Hollywood, Dave comes back out of nowhere to get his glo-up on and be the "bald black savior." They begin to do so. Meanwhile, Carter, even though he's pretty much got a sign over him saying "hi, guys! I'm crazy as fuck," he continues to cyberstalk Leah. The plot goes as far as to paint him as some sort of psycho Superman. He evades the restraining order, police interaction, and even kills Leah's next door neighbor.

That goes on until Carter murderizes Dave by forcing his car off the road. Carter, eventually, gets brought in for an interrogation. Said interrogator, a Detective Hansen (Holt McCallany), turns off the camera and starts to assault Carter.

Ok, I know that Carter is the bad guy and Hansen is one of the white saviors of the movie. Plus, you know, cops! But, this scene has an uncomfortable air about it, in that it brings up images of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, etc. However, Carter's bad! We're supposed to want him to get the shit beat out of him. But, I don't know. It's something about the way the scene went down that rubbed me in an awkward way. And as bad of a bad guy Carter is presented as, I would've loved to have seen a scene in which Carter throws Hansen off his trail by claiming police brutality. Instead, this potentially potent scene, it gets thrown out the window for Hansen advising Leah to get a shotgun with bean bag ammo because "if he attacks you in your house, you have the right to shoot and kill the hell out of him."

End of movie, right? Nope. We've got to go all revenge movie, since Leah's our battered and bruised heroine. I'm not exactly against these scenes, as they allowed for a bit of cat and mouse between Leah and Carter. They also gave Leah a one-up against Carter. She knew that Carter would want revenge, so--in getting her own revenge--she destroys his credibility and invites him to her house by spray painting "bring it bitch!" on his apartment wall. She, in some ways, becomes what she fears to combat who she fears.

As soon as we get this higher moment of cinema, we're given the stereotypical, Lifetime movie ending. Leah and Carter get into a fight at her house. Leah gets some stabs in and then shoots Carter with the shotgun--twice (since the first bean bag shot was the "warning"). Leah, for some reason, doesn't stay in the house and goes to the police station to report a break-in.

End movie.

Ok, the movie is bad. Oh, my God, is it bad? But, at least Michael Ealy was downright creepy. Sure, his character, by the end, seemed more like he'd be twirling his mustache and tying Sanaa Lathan to some railroad tracks. But, there's something chilling but intriguing about seeing Ealy's character, probably because of the use of The Weeknd's "High for This" in the trailer.

However, even that redeeming quality gets thrown out the window. How? Well, simply put, everyone in the film gets broken down to broad strokes. You'd think that the screenwriter of Menace II Society would be a bit more versed in nuanced characters who, even when they fulfill stereotypes, are still complex.

Oh, and "High For This" isn't even used in the gotdamn movie! It's like using "Earned It" to promote Fifty Shades of Grey then swapping it out for a Taylor Swift song in the scenes where it'd make the most fucking sense! Good ol' Hollywood bait-and-switch. "Oh, hey! The Weeknd's music is being used for that other sexual psychological thriller. Let's use it in this one's trailer to fuck with people and draw them in." Oh, yeah. The sex. There isn't much of it.

Hell, I think that's one of the reasons why The Perfect Guy fails. It plays it safer than a guy wearing five condoms. Not only does it seem to rely on every friggin' psychological thriller trope in the book (women desperate for "love?" Check. Sassy black/white friends saying "mmmhmmm, hunnie. Youze gotta get away from that man?" Check. Crazy guy steals cat? Wait, that's not a trope, but he gets a cat and cat people are usually seen as crazy, plus kleptomania! So...check), it doesn't even do the tropes right!

Most of the tropes, they're done so ridiculously awful that you can't help but chuckle at their absurdity. For instance, let's look at two GIF-worthy moments from the movie:

I know it's horrible to say this, but I almost expected a laugh track to play after Carter looks into the camera and breaks the fourth wall. And with regards to the "shhh" scene, it felt like the movie was telling the audience "shhh. I know it's bad. Stick with us because BLACK CINEMA!"

That brings me to my final point. I understand that every film with black people isn't a "black film." However, this film could've used a healthy dose of race relations--or at least something to make the characters feel more human. The Perfect Guy, it could've been done with Reese Witherspoon, Channing Tatum, and Tony Goldwyn and still would've sucked. None of the characters really stood out and maybe talking a bit about their race/ethnicity could've given some sort of life to these cut-out, one-dimensional-ass characters. You've heard their dialogue in every movie like this and you've seen this movie done at least a couple hundred times. However, I haven't seen characters this basic and wooden since the early "men are evil and will hurt you because it's Lifetime" days. 

This film could've been so much better. It could've had more commentary on abuse, mental illness, or even race relations--especially considering the time in which it came out (BLM is/was at a peak, feminism was growing, especially among SM users, and everyone felt like they needed to have more in-depth talks). The characters should've been a bit less basic. Hell, if they even would've put a bit more sex in, I'd be more forgiving. As it stands, though?

I'm Speed on the Beat and this has been another WIRTB Review.

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