The Perfect Date (2019) - Review

by - April 12, 2019

Synopsis: To save up for college, Brooks Rattigan creates an app where anyone can pay him to play the perfect stand-in boyfriend for any occasion.

With college expenses on the horizon, Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo) volunteers to take a classmate's cousin to a high school dance in exchange for payment. Celia (Laura Marano) is difficult and unhappy from the very beginning of their date, snarky despite Brooks's efforts to have fun with her. However, after the dance Celia makes a joke about Brooks making a business out of being a chaperone for girls who need dates, and he comes to realize that's not entirely a bad idea. So he creates an app with his best friend Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis) called The Stand-In, where girls can essentially order Brooks to be whatever guy they need him to be for various dates. Needless to say, the app takes off, as does Brooks's "dating" life.

Eventually, Celia calls Brooks and asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend at a party to get the attention of her crush, Franklin (Blaine Kern III). The party also happens to be at the house of a girl who caught Brooks's eye at Celia's high school dance, Shelby Pace (Camila Mendes), so Brooks jumps at the chance to escort her there. Shelby shows interest in Brooks as well, but seeing as how Shelby believes Celia and Brooks are dating, the two decide to plan a very public break-up at an upcoming birthday party so both will be free to date their respective crushes.

Given this teen rom-com stars Noah Centineo, the breakout star from last year's delightful To All The Boys I've Loved Before, it's inevitable that the two movies are going to be compared to one another. That's not entirely fair, because, beyond the somewhat familiar premise (teenagers fake dating who fall for each other!), The Perfect Date is missing out on a few things that made TATBILB so endearing. For one, Brooks Rattigan (a name that sounds like it belongs to an '80s rom-com villain) is a bit bland. He is essentially Peter Kavinsky-lite suffering an identity crisis. Centineo is charming, but Brooks is not. If anything, he's a bit selfish, and he neglects Murph while also treating his depressed but well-meaning dad (Matt Walsh) pretty poorly.

Shelby is nothing more than a cookie-cutter pretty rich girl who doesn't know anything about Brooks other than he's dating Celia. Other than being rich and popular, we know nothing about Shelby either and why should we? Shelby serves no purpose other than to help Brooks reach his epiphany about his feelings for Celia. Celia's crush, Franklin is as much a stereotype as Shelby. He is a gentle, artsy soul who loves vinyl records, pretentious coffee bars and reveals himself to be a street artist. He also spends way too much time comparing Celia and Brooks to dung beetles. Cue the eye-roll.

However, Celia is the movie's saving grace. Initially, I found her to be pretty irritating, simply because the aggressively quirky "IDGAF so I need to be a bitch for no reason" trope is not one of my favorites. Thankfully when Brooks takes her to Shelby's party, the character has softened a little and becomes genuinely more likable over the course of the rest of the movie without losing her snarky edge.

The first half of the movie centers around Brooks's creation of the app and the dates that follow, but that is more of a montage than anything of substance. The app and the dates then essentially disappear, shifting focus to Brooks, Celia, and their shallow crushes, but we don't know enough about any of them to truly care about the outcome. It's really a shame because sticking to the idea of the dating app could have made for some fun, conflicting moments later on in the movie. Instead, it just felt rushed, especially in the last twenty minutes. Centineo and Marano do have some nice chemistry, which makes the movie semi-watchable, but the story itself is rather thin. All in all, I found The Perfect Date to be an okay, run of the mill romantic comedy, but probably not one I'll add to the rewatch list.

Starring: Laura Marano, Noah Centineo, Camila Mendes, Matt Walsh, Odiseas Georgiadis
Directed by: Chris Nelson
Rated: TV-14
Watched: 04.12.2019
Fun Facts:
- Noah Centineo and Laura Marano co-starred on Austin and Ally, where they played love interests.
- Based on the novel The Stand-In by Steve Bloom (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Randall Green).
- Zac Efron was once attached to play Brooks.
Notable Song: The Man by The Killers

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  1. Great review! I love romcoms but it's a shame this one doesn't stand out. I'll be saving it for a Sunday morning whilst doing the chores haha!

    1. I was easily distracted while watching it, so that might be a good idea! lol


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