The Perfect Man Review

Once upon a time Mark Rosman demonstrated promise. In what seems like an age ago he marked as a possible to successor to John Carpenter, just as the director was concluding his richest, most interesting period. Breaking through with The House of Sorority Row in 1983, a film which he wrote, co-produced and directed, his ensuing career effectively came to nothing. This debut may enjoy a moderate cultist following, yet he’s unlikely to see anything comparable again. Recent years have instead seen associations with the likes of Lindsey Lohan (the truly awful TV movie Life-Size for Disney) and Hilary Duff. In the case of the latter he’s moved from TV collaborations, through to the feature A Cinderella Story and now this particular effort, The Perfect Man.

Co-starring Heather Locklear, this particular Duff vehicle feels more like a TV spin-off than usual. Astonishingly it managed to secure a theatrical run in the UK, though essentially it’s as flimsy as a holiday special. Locklear and Duff play single mom and daughter, Duff having spent much of her life travelling around the country as Locklear escapes various failed relationships. (This being a kids’ film, however, there’s no domestic violence or the like, just simple not getting along.) Of course, she’s looking for “the perfect man” and with Duff in her teens so is she. The course is therefore set for a pair of predictable romances with a touch a matchmaking thrown in at either side. Plus we have another family member, a seven-year old moppet firmly from the school of US commercials, to up the cutesiness and broaden the demographic.

Essentially we have a film in which every plot move can be detected as soon as the pieces fall into place (effectively the first ten minutes, though Duff’s also there to provide a voice-over for the slower and/or younger members of the audience). Indeed, for all its contemporary attachments – Duff writes a weblog, the blond guy with the strange nose from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy gets a mincing supporting role - The Perfect Man could have been made at any time. The eventual pairings with Chris Noth and Ben Feldman are held off for as long as possible (in this case, roughly 80 minutes) and then everyone lives happily after.

So what exactly does the film have to offer? Clearly Duff’s presence means that it’s aimed squarely at the “tweenie” audience, yet there’s no concession to anyone beyond this age group; something which really should be a must nowadays as they can hardly go see these films unattended. Rather we’re left with a blank, unaffecting construct, there solely to make those involved some money. It’s glossy, but artificial (even a number of exteriors were captured in the studio), bland and ultimately anonymous.

The Disc

The Perfect Man comes to DVD in as glossy a form as you’d expect. The film itself comes with a fine presentation, whilst the disc is packed with special features, each as lightweight and effusive as the main attraction. The original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is adhered to, comes anamorphically enhanced and is stricken from as flawless a print as you’d expect from such a new release. Moreover, technically the transfer appears to be fine; there are one or two instances of artefacting, but otherwise nothing to speak of – the rich, artificial colour scheme is maintained, the picture couldn’t be sharper, and so on. As for the soundtrack, here we find the original DD5.1 mix and it’s in similarly fine condition. Being dialogue heavy, it is mostly the central channels which are employed, though the occasional bursts of its bland, anonymous soundtrack (all available on tie-in CD of course) are equally well-handled.

As you’d expect the extras are also wholly aimed at the younger audience members, though we do find a commentary by Rosman and executive producer Adam Sigel. Disappointingly, this is an incredibly bland affair, the kind which talks about reshoots and weather conditions and frankly bores you to death within the first fifteen minutes. Indeed, they may continue to speak beyond this point – in fact, they’re chatty throughout – but there’s never anything to cling onto or get interested by. The closest we get to any kind of anecdote is that Duff likes to go shopping.

Elsewhere the disc also plays host to a series of featurettes, all on decidedly banal subjects. If you want to know how the cakes were prepared or about the clapper board, then there’s likely to be a minute or so for you, but otherwise these are to be strictly avoided. And the same goes for the rest of the additions: the deleted scenes (including alternative opening and ending) match the film itself for flimsiness, whilst the outtakes are just as you’d expect. The only high point is the fact that one of Duff’s music videos hasn’t been included.

As with the main feature, all extras come with a host of optional subtitles (see right sidebar).

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Last updated: 19/04/2018 06:38:24

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