'The Perfect Match': Film Review
Terrence Jenkins plays a dedicated ladies' man who finds himself falling in love in Bille Woodruff's romantic comedy.
Why is it that supposedly mature characters in romantic comedies are constantly making asinine bets about their love lives? That hoary contrivance fuels the plot of The Perfect Match, a film so generic that its bland title is its most original feature.
The film's central character is Charlie (Terrence Jenkins), a ladies' man and commitment-phobe, who'll naturally be a changed person 90 minutes later. Although he's perhaps the least hard-working agent ever — frequently taking time out from his day to hang out with his friends and indulge his photography hobby — he somehow can afford a palatial house in the Hollywood Hills.
"As soon as I have sex with them all of my interest magically disappears," he tells his friends about his romantic life, with at least the second half of that statement likely holding true for viewers as well. He also has a strict set of "rules," which include his female guests having to take off their high-heels upon entering his home.
Judging him disapprovingly are his married friends, who have sufficient problems to add some much-needed subplots to the thin material. Victor (Robert Christopher Riley) is stressing out over the expense of his upcoming wedding, with his fiancée Ginger (Lauren London) unwilling to settle for anything less than a $6,000 cake. Rick (Donald Faison) and his wife, Pressie (Dascha Polanco), are desperately trying to have a baby, to the point that their sex has become drudgery.
Charlie reluctantly accepts their challenge to sleep with only one woman in the month leading up to the wedding — oh, the horror! — and shortly thereafter meets the gorgeous and sexy Eva (Cassie Ventura), his type of gal since she insists that all she wants is some no-strings-attached fun. They're soon getting it on — both at his house and a restaurant bathroom — in sex scenes (cue slow jams on the soundtrack) in which body parts are amazingly always covered up by perfectly positioned hair.
Charlie soon falls for his new conquest and begins seriously contemplating settling down, only to be rudely awakened when he makes a surprising discovery. He instantly backslides into a lost weekend, getting sloppily drunk, lashing out at everyone around him and sabotaging his career with a sudden attack of conscience. But hey, it all makes him a better man, so much so that he even gets his first gallery photography show.
For what's supposed to be a comedy, the film has a surprising paucity of laughs, most of them provided by Faison's hard-working efforts. There's an attempt at comic relief in the form of Charlie's older sister Sherry (Paula Patton), the sort of touchy-feely psychotherapist who tells a prospective patient, "I'll be the mom you never had" and who diagnoses Charlie's relationship issues as stemming from his unresolved grief over their parents' untimely death.
And speaking of unresolved grief, that's the chief reaction incurred by the hackneyed direction of Bille Woodruff (Honey, Beauty Shop), who for some unknown reason shoots one sequence from the POV of the inside of Charlie's sink as he's washing his mouth out with beer.
Practically everyone onscreen looks good and dresses sexily — especially Eva, whose outfits would have been rejected by the Pussycat Dolls as being over-the-top — and there are mildly amusing cameos from the likes of Robin Givens as a manic wedding planner and Brandy as a diva singer who has her assistant deliver facial expressions for her. But it's not enough to make The Perfect Match anything more than undemanding date night fodder.
Production: Jorva Entertainment Productions, Flavor Unit Entertainment
Distributor: Lionsgate/Codeblack Films
Cast: Terrence Jenkins, Paula Patton, Cassie Ventura, Donald Faison, Dascha Polanco, Robert Christopher Riley,Lauren London, Joe Pantoliano, Beau Casper Smart
Screenwriter: Brandon Broussard
Producers: Johnson Chan, Douglas Shaffer, Alex Avant, Yaneley Arty, Otis Best, Paula Patton, Terrence J
Executive producers: Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, J. Vincent Reppert, Stephanie Rennie,Jacob York Lisa Reppert
Director of photography: Tommy Maddox-Upshaw
Production designer: Niko Vilaivongs
Editor: Michael Jablow
Costume designer: Janelle Carothers
Composer: Kurt Farquhar
Casting: Kimberly R. Hardin, Natasha Ward
Rated R, 90 minutes