The Perfect Score (2004)
The Perfect Score is about a mismatched group of stereotypes: the brain, the rebel, the stoner, the loser, the jock, and the “good guy” who all decide that the SAT is the only thing standing in their way of achieving their dreams. So they decide to go for the ultimate teen-heist and steal the answers.
The cover says it’s The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven. Yeah, maybe the worst possible version of John Hughes’ classic and all of the corny elements of Ocean’s. The Breakfast Club is one of my all-time favorite movies. It defines high school, it’s far more than stereotypes. The Breakfast Club could have EASILY failed. It could have been awful, cheesy, and cliché because, let’s face it, the plot is very basic and it IS full of stereotypes. But those characters are real, the dialogue is witty, and it has heart.
The Perfect Score is like someone placed Breakfast Club on a platter, stabbed it forty times, threw in some new amateur actors, and tore out the heart that everyone connected with. This movie is dead. It has no heart, nor soul. It’s a two-hour detention, not two hours playing hooky.
The only reason I watched the entire thing was because I had just finished with my last final exam for the semester. I definitely agreed with the injustice that standardized testing is to humankind or whatever, so I fell for the premise. And, I’ll admit, it did start off well. Stylized introductions to the characters, planning sessions, etc. But then one too many characters got involved. I mean, all that Kyle (Chris Evans) and Matty (Bryan Greenberg) really needed was Francesca (Scarlett Johansson) since she’s the one with access to the building. I guess Roy (Leonardo Nam) can get into the computer, and that’s cool. But even if you did have a crush on her, would you really tell the smartest girl in school that you were planning on doing ANYTHING unethical? That’s how Anna (Erika Christensen) got involved.. and then she just decided out of the goodness of her heart to tell “deprived” BASKETBALL STAR Desmond (Darius Miles) about it.
Here’s the thing though. Even if Brian Robbins was going for a heist movie – it’s far from satisfying. I guess their sense of right and wrong got the better of them, or whatever, but they don’t use the answers. Sure it makes me feel good inside that teenagers can have some ounce of integrity, but that wasn’t what I watched this movie for. All I saw, was an intelligent and strong girl turn into a slut, an insecure rebel go for a fat-boy loser with no backbone, and an Asian druggie being controlled by a domineering black woman. I don’t know, everything just goes too far to try and teach a lesson. “A lot of people would think these questions are difficult… not me.” “No?” “No. Because these questions have answers.” Touching.
It has further lame attempts to be Breakfast-club-esque: “What would you do if you had all the money in the world” kind of questions. “There’s this one video game, blah blah blah.. it was so cool, this one character was cool…” “Oh, so you want to design video games?” “No, I want to be that one character!” It goes for laughs, but all I could muster was half an eye roll.
The acting was amateur at best. Some say that Johansson isn’t half bad – and she isn’t – but I don’t really like her that much anyway. Everyone’s lines are forced, their interactions with each other are fake. As improbable as Claire and John’s relationship is in Breakfast Club, they at least had some ounce of chemistry – and they interacted well together. Nothing in this is real.
Stereotypes at its worst, The Perfect Score is as far from perfect as I am from being a millionaire. Please watch The Breakfast Club instead. 1/10