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THE PERFECT SCORE, 2004
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THE PERFECT SCORE MOVIE POSTER
THE PERFECT SCORE, 2004
Classic Movie Review

Directed by Brian Robbins
Starring Chris Evans, Bryan Greenberg, Erika Christensen, Scarlett Johansson, Darius Miles, and Leonardo Nam.
Review by Elizabeth Cooper



SYNOPSIS:

If you can’t pass the S.A.T., steal it.

REVIEW:

In the world of teen flicks, there are only three goals of high school: to become popular, to lose your virginity, and to get into the perfect college. The Perfect Score is about the third goal, which can only be accomplished by stealing the SAT to get a good score. Let me go ahead and state, that this is no Ocean’s 11. While the film tries to combine the excitement of a heist film with the common problems of a teen flick, it succeeds at neither. Leaving the viewer thinking, “Scarlett Johansson signed up for this?”

Like any good heist film, The Perfect Score starts out with two intrepid people and a problem. In this case, Kyle (Evans) and Matty (Greenberg) are the two such masterminds behind the plot. Evans plays the stereotypically focused young man who has worked and studied just so he can attend Cornell and become…an Architect. His traits are balanced against his best friend Matty, who only wants to go to the same college as his girlfriend.

Despite all of their hard work and studying, they just can’t seem to get a good score on the dreadful test. So, they have to steal it. After all, what other choice do they have? The film piddles around their need to steal it; a few brief segments of talk about why the test is wrong and bias, but the conversations are a simple justification of their plot.

The next part of the plan is to recruit a crew of people to help them pull it off. No, they don’t hire seasoned pros; they don’t

even hire high schoolers that have been to Juve before, instead, they recruit students just as desperate as them.

Kyle decides to let the GOHD (Girl Of His Dreams) join in on their plan. She in turn recruits the school jock to help them, since he needs a good SAT score to ensure sports scholarship. The school pothead overhears the plot and joins in. Really, he is the only character that makes a convincing addition to the motley crew of wannabe thieves. Then there’s the alternative girl (Johansson). She is the outsider that makes the whole plot possible. Her strategic injection into their group proves to be mildly annoying.

The plan is simple: steal the answers to the SAT. Yes, the main testing center just happens to be located in the town. Yes, Johansson happens to have full access to the facility, and yes, apparently all the tests have the same questions and answers. Once you get passed all of those ‘coincidences’, you can see that indeed, the goal is simple.

The plot has some enjoyable moments but there is neither enough suspense nor enough comedy to make the film truly enjoyable. In an effort to add some comedic life to the film, Matthew Lilliard makes a now trademark appearance as the funny, party guy who can’t grow up. Here he plays Kyle’s still-living-at-home brother. Instead of focusing on suspense-filled hijinks, the students end up growing as individuals. Although the transformation is good, but it makes the whole escapade of stealing the SAT seem rather pointless.

Although the film boasts an impressive cast, none of the actors live up to their talent that has been displayed in other films. In fact, for most of the actors, this is the most “teenie” film of their careers. Perhaps they felt that they needed to do it in order to say they were in a high school teen flick? I don’t know how they got them all to sign on, but it is impressive. The characters in the film rarely transcend beyond the stereotype, which, given the cast, is very disappointing. The MTV production is directed by Brian Robbins, who also directed the hit Varsity Blues. Despite the sexually charged humor and trite sports metaphors, Varsity Blues proves to be a more enjoyable choice than The Perfect Score, largely because Blues doesn’t try to be overly serious of itself (after all, how can a film that spawned the whip cream bikini ever be considered serious).

For The Perfect Score, the attempt of being a thoughtful teen flick ultimately falls flat amongst a swell of clichés and unbelievable personality transformations.

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