STARRING: Noah Centineo, Laura Marano, Odiseas Georgiadis, Camila Mendes, Matt Walsh, Joe Chrest, Carrie Lazar, Alexander Biglane, Blaine Kern III, Zak Steiner and Wayne Péré
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.
Brooks Rattigan is a High School senior that dreams of getting into Yale, while his father wants him to get a full ride attending the University of Connecticut. Another issue for Brooks is that financially, getting into Yale would be a bit of a stretch, along with him struggling to write about himself in his application. When Brooks seizes the opportunity to make extra money, posing as the boyfriend to take her to a dance, he decides, with the help of his friend Murph, to make an app which makes him the perfect stand-in boyfriend for any occasion.
The Perfect Date is the latest teen rom-com to come out under the Netflix banner, with the screenplay written by Steve Bloom and Randall Green based on the novel written by Bloom, with the film directed by Chris Nelson. The film focuses on Brooks Rattigan, a High School senior that dreams of going to Yale and has the grades but unfortunately is having trouble writing about himself on his application. Working at a sub shop, he seizes the opportunity to make some extra money by being a stand-in chaperone for Celia Lieberman. Realising that he could be onto something here in making quick cash, he and his programming friend Murph, create an app, selling himself as the plus-one for all occasions.
The Perfect Date is a most that works so well in its format primarily due to its two leads. Noah Centineo, aka this generations Mark-Ruffalo-esque looking leading man that’s well into his Freddie Prinze Jr. phase of teen romantic comedies (this being his third Netflix romantic comedy in the last twelve months) and Noah just oozes charisma as Brooks Rattigan. He’s charming and during the course of the film he becomes more self-centred as he focuses so much on the app, getting to Yale and the girl of his dreams Shelby, he becomes distant with his father and friend Murph. But Centineo’s performance still makes him likeable enough for you to follow through to the end. While Centineo is comfortable as the leading man in this environment, it’s his co-lead Laura Marano. The moment she first appears on screen her energy is infectious and has great chemistry with Centineo, the two play off each other very well. The film does fine in blending the romantic comedy angle with its coming-of-age tale within Brooks Rattigan.
As great as Centineo and Marano are together, the rest of the supporting cast are limited with screentime so their more emotional dramatic moments don’t feel as effective as they should be, particularly Murph’s arc as the friend that helps Brooks with his mission yet feels like he’s losing their friendship everyday. In terms of the script, some of the films quirkiness does feel heavy-handed to a point and the story itself is littered with every teen romantic comedy cliche you can think of. Oddly enough with the amount that happens within the films ninety minute runtime, it feels slightly rushed in parts and a few arcs could’ve been further developed.
It doesn’t break new ground in the teen romantic comedy genre, but the performances from leads Centineo and Marano will be enough to keep the viewer invested. 5/10