Netflix has been churning out pretty solid light rom coms inspired by YA books as of late starting with The Kissing Booth, Set It Up, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Now, with “The Perfect Date,” Netflix brings back Noah Centineo (Pete Kravinsky from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) and pairs him up with Austin and Ally’s Laura Marano and Riverdale’s Camila Mendes for a no-brainer romance whose sole objective is to entertain.
Synopsis: Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo) has it all figured out for himself. After high school, his life goal is to go to Yale to become a huge success. But an Ivy League college costs a whole lot of money, something his family does not have. After landing a gig as a chaperone for one of his classmate’s rich cousin Celia (Laura Marano), he gets the idea that he can actually market his services to become a stand in for girls who want the ultimate dream date. As he gets nearer his goal of getting the money for college and the hot rich girl of his dreams (Camila Mendes), he begins to question whether he crafted his life goal for the right reasons in the first place.
“The Perfect Date,” which was adapted from the book, “The Stand In” by Steve Bloom, is the type of movie that once you see the trailer, you know what will go down in the movie. And that’s completely okay. The movie does not claim to be original, not by any right as it mercilessly exploits the teen rom com formula that has worked on the target market since time immemorial. Cute guy – check. Tough chick on the outside and completely vulnerable inside – check. Hot unattainable girl- check. Loyal friend- check. But because its a formula that has been tried and tested, the movie as a whole, worked.
I liked the chemistry between Noah Centineo and Laura Marano. I don’t actually ship them but but they work well together because they look like they have fun with each scene they’re in. Perhaps its because they’re both so used to playing the types of characters they have been assigned so it comes naturally for them. Camila Mendes also didn’t have to reach very far to portray the fancy rich heiress Shelby Pace after playing Veronica Lodge for three seasons. I actually liked Brooks’ bestie Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis) because he had this certain coolness about him.
Character wise, I think that Brooks got off pretty easily considering how oblivious and insensitive he has been with his friends and with Celia. I wish Celia had spelled out his mistake to him in the first place before actually forgiving him (because he was completely clueless about what he did wrong), as with Murph.
Apart from being overambitious and oblivious though, Brooks was a pretty great guy. He was smart, he was cute and he was actually kind of resourceful. Channeled properly, I got why Shelby and Celia liked him. The guy had layers — well, the jury is still out on what he will do with his layers but at least they were there which is so much more than what other rom com princes have.
I also loved the moment with Brooks’ dad when they had that heart to heart. The positivity in his outlook could really inspire many people to beat themselves up too hard over their failures that they overlook the small but meaningful successes that they have in their lives.
All in all, The Perfect Date was not a groundbreaking addition to the rom com genre but it managed to deliver on a light and entertaining movie that inspired the happy feels. It knows its place in the general scheme of things and was content to serve its purpose. It had relateable characters, imperfect ones and ones that are still finding their way. At the end of the day, aren’t we all just looking for purpose like Brooks was?
Trivia: Noah and Laura worked together on Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally where Noah played Dallas, Ally’s crush in the first season. They were also both terrible dancers there too. LOL! Lookie how cute Noah was when he was super young and look at how Laura never aged from this clip til now. Go figure, right?