Film — The Perfect Man (PG)


By Amy Diaz

Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear band together to take over the world via a mind-control device that has been unleashed on an unsuspecting public through the movie The Perfect Man.

No, you say, this can’t be. But, it is — oh yes; thousands (er, well, probably more like dozens) of moviegoers across the nation will buy tickets to The Perfect Man. (That’s step one, by the way. You hand over a debit card to the theater employee and all your financial information is immediately uploaded to a Duff/Locklear mega-computer that will, a la Superman III or Office Space, slowly siphon pennies out of your accounts. Best to pay with cash, though then they will have your fingerprints.) These unwilling future soldiers in the Hilary/Heather army will sit in theaters, innocently slurping sodas and eating Twizzlers. They will be completely unaware of the fact that, with every scene, the movie will be implanting directly into their brains instructions on where to go to carry out the Duff/Locklear coup. This information will lay dormant for months — years even, until one day these people are triggered (perhaps via a blandly perky pop song that talks about following your dreams) to begin the revolution.

So secretive are these plans that even Chris Noth, who has a supporting role in this movie and is probably trying to figure out exactly what kind of bribe he’ll have to give Dick Wolfe to get himself back on Law & Order, is not aware of the ramifications that this movie will have on the very fabric of our society. Sure he saw hints, would occasionally walk into Duff’s trailer only to find Duff and Locklear moving plastic tanks around giant maps. “Hey guys, whacha doing?” he’d said. “Nothing,” Locklear would reply. “Hey, Chris, smell my new perfume.” Then, poof, a mist of some chemical in his face and Noth would wake up in his own dressing room with no memory of what he saw and a bad headache.

What proof do I have of this? How do I know it’s true?

Well, why else would this movie be made? This cheap, boring hybrid of The Parent Trap and Mermaids couldn’t simply have been created to entertain on its own merits. This must be part of some larger scheme.

The story of woman, Jean Hamilton (Locklear), who moves her two daughters, Holly (Duff) and Zoe (Aria Wallace), to a new town every single time one of her many relationships goes wrong is absurd on its face. If nothing else, kids have stuff, stuff that doesn’t fit in the back of a station wagon, and stuff is expensive to move. And, while a really good cake can run you $50 or more, I doubt a baker’s salary can pay for that many Ryder trucks.

Though Holly tries to just go with the adventure, when the family gets to Brooklyn and Holly meets Adam (Ben Forrest) she decides she wants to stick around. So, instead of leaving it to fate that her mom might meet a decent man this time, she invents a man. Using advice given to her by a friend’s charming, restraunteur uncle Ben (Noth), Holly creates her own Ben, one who loves the same music and crosswords her mother does. What follows is a slightly creepy romance between, essentially, Locklear and Duff. The movie uses a painfully trite combination of e-mail, letters and IM to create a man that fellow food industry employee Locklear oddly doesn’t try to find further information on.

Naturally, the more Ben advises Holly on how to woo her mom, the more Holly becomes convinced that Ben truly is the man for Jean. But, now that she has created the secret-admirer fake-Ben, how can Holly ever introduce her mom to real Ben?

By the 20-minute point, The Perfect Man becomes near unbearable to watch — having overdosed us too quickly on sitcom clichés and that forced Duff perkiness. The remaining hour and a half is an excruciating mixture of pain and boredom reminiscent of dental surgery. Which brings us back to the Duff and Locklear plans to take over the world — how successful can they be if no one can stand to watch their movie?

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