The Perfect Date is a cheesy teenage rom-com movie at its finest, with moments that are bound to make you laugh-out-loud.
This post for The Perfect Date contains spoilers, but TBH spoilers don’t really mean anything for rom-coms.
The Perfect Date (2019, directed by Chris Nelson), originally called The Stand-In, is based on the novel of the same name (referring to latter title) by Steve Bloom. It is the third teenage rom-com movie from Netflix that features matinée idol Noah Centineo. It follows the character Brooks Rattigan (Centineo) who is trying to save up money to go to Yale University; with the help of his coding genius best friend Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis), Brooks starts to get hired by women of all ages through the app (The Stand-In) to be a stand-in date for them—and no, he’s not prostituting himself.
I completely forgot that the movie was due to come out on April 12, until I saw the movie title pop-up on my Netflix feed. Immediately, I clicked and started watching. To my surprise, I watched it through to its end (normally I would pause it halfway and multi-task) because the pacing of the movie was so fast, which in this case is a good thing.
I’ve never seen Laura Marano star in anything before; I’ve seen Ladybird, but I don’t recall seeing her in it, and I’ve never watched her Disney Channel TV show Austin & Ally before. So watching her for the first time in The Perfect Date was a pleasant surprise, as I adored every second of her on-screen presence.
“It’s like underneath all these layers of angst and sarcasm, there might actually be a human being.” – Brooks
Marano stars as Celia Lieberman, a high school teen who goes to her school dance with her stand-in date Brooks (who is hired by Celia’s father). Celia is sharp-tongued and has a sarcastic sense of humour. Her character kind of reminds me of Anna Kendrick; Kendrick always has witty comebacks and is always displaying a self-deprecating humour on social media.
Even though Centineo has been in multiple rom-coms, he always gives nuances to his various characters, thus making them all unique in their own way. In The Perfect Date, I think this is by far Centineo’s best rom-com performance yet, as the plot is focused on his character Brooks, thus allowing him to have the space to showcase what a great actor he is and why he is the go-to rom-com guy that Hollywood wants.
Centineo is charismatic and delivers great on-screen chemistry with his scene partners. Even a fool could tell that right from the get-go, Brooks and Celia were going to be together and the whole 90-minute runtime was meant for audiences to watch a whole lot of fluffy, quirky and comedic scenes—scenes that involved some really clever and original dialogue. I’m thoroughly impressed by the flow of conversation and how effortlessly Centineo and Marano delivered some really funny lines for their characters.
Albeit Camila Mendes is used heavily in promotional materials for The Perfect Date, her role
literally lasted slightly more than five minutes. She stars as Shelby Pace, a rich teenager who has her entire life figured out. Apart from being a “love at first sight” interest for Brooks, Shelby’s character is underdeveloped and doesn’t really serve a greater purpose to the story apart from being Brooks’ girl for five seconds. Additionally, Mendes doesn’t really do much acting, (I personally don’t think she’s a good actress, have you seen Riverdale?) sometimes I just feel like she’s a. either playing herself, or b. repeating a mantra of “what would Veronica do?” to all the teenage characters she has ever played.
Brooks best friend Murph also suffers the same fate as Shelby, as audiences don’t really get to know much about him, except for the fact that he’s openly gay and has a crush on a male customer who visits the sandwich shop that he and Brooks works at. Other than that, Murph is basically in the movie to “support” the leads.
I think The Perfect Date is an excellent feel-good movie that features stellar performances from the two lead actors, and it’s definitely worthwhile to watch because a teenage rom-com like this can never go wrong.