The Perfect Score
February 22, 2005
It’s The Breakfast Club meets Ocean’s Eleven in this high-school comedy that doesn’t quite make the grade.
Released after Johansson’s breakthrough role in Lost in Translation but filmed months before, The Perfect Score tried to ride her wave of success with little…well, success, making a poultry £10 million dollars at the US box-office. Produced by MTV, this is just what you might expect – a bunch of hip-talkin’ teens rebelling against the system to a soft-rock soundtrack.
Essentially a heist movie with kids, The Perfect Score takes the not un-original premise of dissatisfied youths deciding to steal SAT results to secure a future that their current grades wouldn’t provide. Best budds Kyle and Matty take it upon themselves to steal said test results, but they’ll need the expertise of punk girl Francesca (presumably we’re supposed to think she’s a punk because she has bad hair) whose father happens to own the building where the SATs are stored, stoner computer genius Roy, uptight teacher’s pet Anna and basketball champ Desmond. Along the way they become friends and learn about themselves, etc etc…
The film works best when it cuts loose and just has fun with the characters (the Matrix parody is spot-on) rather than trying to get across a moralising lesson you can see coming a mile away. There’s a goofy charm here that just about makes the film enjoyable nonsense, but it takes a good twenty minutes to get going and just when the heist is starting to get interesting, the movie is over, a ‘you just need to believe in yourself’ mantra is rubbed in your face and the credits role, which is a shame because there are some amusing moments between the characters along the way (“Walk much?” Johansson asks as her partner in crime slams into a glass door).
The pop-culture references mostly hit home and in the hands of someone like Kevin Williamson (currently M.I.A) this could have been in the same league as the films it’s trying to live up to (referring openly to The Breakfast Club is just suicide). As it is, it’s just a mildly entertaining ninety-minutes.
Nothing spectacular, but the film hardly deserves it, so you’ll have to make do with an audio commentary from director Brian Robbins, a making of featurette and a trailer. Average in all respects.