By Tom Goulde, First Year, History
Netflix continues its Noah Centineo obsession with a predictable but lovable rom-com which has all the right tones for a lonely evening Netflix pick-me-up.
Based on Steve Bloom’s 2016 novel The Stand-In, The Perfect Date is Netflix’s latest rom-com adaptation success after To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) and The Kissing Booth (2018). All three may be stereotypical, but are thoroughly enjoyable films. Centineo plays Brooks Rattigan, a high school student with aspirations to go to Yale, who does not have the money to go to college and comes up with a scheme to help him achieve his goals.
After taking Celia (Laura Marano) to her high-school dance for a little bit of cash, he decides he can create a service where he ‘stands in’ on dates with girls. He creates an app with the help of his friend Murph (the delightful Odiseas Georgiadis) allowing girls to describe the personality of boy she wants to go on a date with. Brooks struggles with continuing the app alongside maintaining friendships and impressing Shelby (Camila Mendes), the most beautiful and popular girl around.
Compared to many romantic comedies, the plot of The Perfect Date is progressive with the subplot of Murph having a gay love interest. Brooks goes on dates with a variety of girls with all different interests and the film is seemingly acceptable of all of these. There are, of course, classic rom-com tropes throughout but the film does not shy away from these, instead embracing them and allowing for a level of character development unusual for this genre.
Centineo stars and is actually brilliant in his role as Brooks. He appeared on Netflix last as Peter Kavinsky in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Brooks Rattigan is vastly different from Peter, showing Centineo’s versatility as well as his comedic ability. His delivery throughout this film is perfect and, despite the cheesy one-liners, he keeps his character interesting and enjoys a mature character arc usually reserved for more experienced actors.
Moreover, Laura Marano as Celia is fantastic. Celia and Brooks are friends first then romantic interests, and the chemistry between Marano and Centineo is amazing. They bond on screen well and the scenes they share are the catalyst for the the fun feeling to the film. I am sure both Marano and Centineo will use this film as a vehicle to progress to more complex roles.
One criticism of the movie is that some of the scenes drag, especially those involving Mendes, who is brilliant in Riverdale (2016-) but is given a disappointing role here. At times, the characters feel a little out of touch with reality, with the moment when Brooks asks, ‘What is Reddit?’ a standout example.
Despite some flaws, The Perfect Date is an enjoyable film which makes you laugh and cringe at the same time. Fans of Centineo from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before will love him again in this, and he and Marano work brilliantly together to warm the viewer’s heart. Ironically watching this film truly is ‘the perfect date’, even if the person you are enjoying the company of is yourself.
The Perfect Date is available to watch on Netflix.
Featured Image courtesy of Netflix
How does Centineo's latest character to his hearthrob showing in To All the Boys I Loved Before?