film reel image

film reel image

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Perfect Guy 2015 * * * Stars

The Perfect GuyDirector: David M. Rosenthal
Year: 2015
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, Morris Chestnut

Michael Ealy is a pretty likable ham. And his newest is a Screen Gems release recalling countless, psychological thrillers. The Perfect Guy (my latest review) dabbles in the vein of 2009's Obsessed, 1996's Fear, 1992's Unlawful Entry, and of course, 1987's Fatal Attraction. I'd say it's equal to or stronger than three out of the four films just mentioned (nothing can touch the sex-crazed rift between Michael Douglas and Glenn Close). Starting off as rather predictable and obvious, this flick surprisingly turns into an isolated, whiz-bang affair. Oh and when you compare it to the disastrous crud that was The Boy Next Door (which came out earlier this year), The Perfect Guy is literally The Maltese Falcon. Translation: I'm recommending it.

Director David M. Rosenthal provides the usual requirements for a modern day thriller here. He keeps things slick and trashy, casts good-looking people, moves the intrigue along at a meteoric pace, and makes sure the heavy goes perpetual psycho way before the hour mark. The story begins as a romance drama with the obligatory, jovial film score pouncing in the background. Sanaa Lathan channeling sadness, fear, and discontent like no other actress can, plays Leah Vaughn. Leah is a successful lobbyist (I guess that means she works for the government). She's attractive, sexy, and well off yet seems stuck in a nowhere relationship with her boyfriend (Dave King played by Morris Chestnut). Because Dave doesn't want marriage and a family with her, Leah then decides to end things on good terms. In walks Duncan Carter (played by Michael Ealy), a mystery guy who with a couple of subtle gestures (he buys her an iced latte one moment then saves her from being hit on the next), sweeps her off her feet. Things seem to be going well between Leah and Carter with Leah feeling like she might have found true love again. That's until Carter violently beats some dude up for looking at his car (or talking to his chic. Either way he's a combative man). Leah senses danger, feels unsafe around him, and eventually wants the two of them to not see each other anymore. Big mistake. Set to the backdrop of glamorous L.A., The Perfect Guy upsets you the viewer while keeping your eyeballs pinned to the screen. It's one part revenge tale, two parts obsessive escapade, and three parts eldritch. Bring the popcorn, ingest the sterile surroundings, and prepare to be creeped out big time.

Now the thing that sunders "Guy" from falling into a bowl of pseudo-madman cliches, is what it does with its main antagonist. And despite Ealy sort of straining to play him (whenever he gets mad it feels robotic and mildly laughable), the storyboard people and screenwriters turn his Carter Duncan into one of the most ickiest, stealthiest, and uncanniest stalkers ever. He gets minimal dialogue to play with and an effective, lunatic stare somehow making this character work. Carter is the kind of sicko that just can't let things go. He breaks into Leah's house, installs surveillance cameras there, lays under her bed while she has sex with another man, puts her toothbrush in his mouth, watches over her as she sleeps, steals her cat, hacks into her computer, and murders her acquaintances. All the while he gets his prowl-on wearing good old-fashioned, white latex gloves. Note to any beautiful and successful woman: Don't date a charming sociopath who changes his name, has no family, has no friends, and works in information technology. Run girl run!

In conclusion, The Perfect Guy is far from "perfect" (ha ha). I mean you've got the Ealy character deviating from actually being infatuated with Lathan's Leah (towards the end). It gets to the point where he ends up just becoming voyeuristic while toying with his victims like a maniac in a horror film. Regardless, things barrel along with some hard (unexpected) detours taken via the bare-knuckle storyline. That separates it from most mediocre entries in the thriller killer genre. My rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

No comments:

Post a Comment