The Perfect Date is another vapid installation into the tired rom-com genre

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Meredith VanSkiver

More stories from Meredith VanSkiver

Student Q&A – Ella Kelly
September 20, 2019

Regardless of how cynical the title of this review may make me seem to be, I am, in fact, a great lover of romantic comedies. I can consistently count on their gooey, often hard to believe, sugar-coated deliciousness.

Rom-coms, as they’re so affectionately dubbed, have been a staple of modern cinema for almost a decade. However, a lot of time has passed since then, and the movie-going experience has evolved. With the ever-growing presence of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more, the game has changed significantly. The new platforms have allowed for a higher quantity of films to be put out. In my opinion, this large output of films, including romcoms in particular, has led to a decrease in the quality of them.

The Perfect Date, Netflix’s newest addition to the genre, is a prime example of this. It is cliche-ridden and stereotype-filled.

It follows your typical leading man type, with big dreams but shallow pockets. Brooks Radigan (Noah Centineo) is an aspiring Yale attendee but his financial situation is shaping up to be his biggest roadblock. However, when he gets roped into accompanying the angsty, “I’m not like other girls” Celia Lieberman (Laura Marano) to a school dance as an easy way to earn some cash, he discovers that, in the most PG sense possible, he enjoys the aspect of going on a date as a completely different person and getting paid for it.

Thus, with the help of the rom-com staple “The Best Friend” (in this case the refreshing Murph played by Odiseas Georgiadis), Brooks creates an app where girls can custom make a version of him they need for their personal date. Along the way, he uses the revenue to try and collect enough funds to cover his potential Yale tuition.

The plot may seem at least somewhat original on paper, but the presence of every rom-com cliche in the book ruined any sense of individuality for me. There was the typical, perfect, rich girl, Shelby Pace (Camila Mendes), that the main character obsesses over. There was the ever-helpful dad (Matt Walsh) who had a different dream of his child’s future than the son in question. Everything about the movie felt predictable and overdone.

Additionally, I felt that the writing was very weak as well. The conversations felt unnatural with overly wordy exchanges between characters. All the jokes felt cheap and all together unfunny. It’s hard to enjoy a movie with a lousy script.

It’s hard to enjoy a movie with a lousy script.”

Even if the script was enthralling, I still don’t think the lead actors could have delivered. Marano’s Celia was unlikeable to begin with, and she portrayed her in a way that gave me no reason to root for her; she was boring.

Centineo seems to be like this decade’s Julia Roberts. They both churned out rom-com after rom-com during their respective time. In fact, this movie, along with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Sierra Burgess is a Loser marks the actor’s third Netflix rom-com since summer. The one key difference between him and Roberts, though, is that her movies were, for the most part, all enjoyable, and she is very skilled at what she does.

To sum up how I felt about The Perfect Date, I’ll borrow a quote that my friend said about it: “It’s great background noise.”

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