a critiQal film review The Perfect Score (2004)

  • DVD

Plot: A group of six high school students band together and develop a plan to heist the SAT exam in order to prevent the test from unfairly defining who they'll become. Each in the group has their own set of circumstances that leads them to one conclusion - the only way to truly decide their fate is to cheat the system.

346 words (Est. Reading Time 1m 43s)

Teen comedy dramas aren’t usually that entertaining, but some of them (Bring It On (2000)) have proven they can be good, so when I came across The Perfect Score – which boasts a cast including Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans (reuniting next year for the highly-anticipated superhero pic The Avengers (2012)) – I decided to give it a shot…but I wasn’t expecting much.

Chris Evans and crew do a decent job with the roles they’ve been given, creating characters viewers will have an interest in, no matter how stereotypical those characters might be. Making the characters appealing despite keeping them cliched isn’t an enviable task, and the fact that they rise to the challenge says something about the actors themselves. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson are, of course, the standouts, but the rest do a decent enough job as well. True, the viewers never really emotionally connect with the characters, but there’s a likability about all of them that helps keep the viewer interested.

Starting off with an interesting plot (break into the SAT testing center and steal the answers), The Perfect Score milks that storyline for all it’s worth, speeding through the getting-to-know-you part as quickly as possible, lingering during the heist, and following that up with a quickie conclusion. It’s all a bit too pat, and the surprises can be seen from miles away, but the film manages to keep the pace from lagging, and gives viewers an entertaining show nonetheless.

Could The Perfect Score have been better? Oh, most definitely. With better character development, the viewers would have been able to connect more strongly to these teens, making their trials and tribulations actually harrowing. And, yes, the movie seems to run out of ideas before it’s inevitable conclusion, making the final scenes of the film nothing more than the silly cliche they are.

Overall, however, thanks to actors that have managed to fuse a large likability factor into some rather simple character stereotypes, The Perfect Score manages to be decently entertaining – and that’s saying a lot for a teen comedy drama like this one.

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