‘The Perfect Date’: A less-than-perfect Netflix romance

While I, like most girls my age, have been a fan of Noah Centineo since seeing him play Peter Kavinsky in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” I am not that impressed with his new movie “The Perfect Date.” Overall, the film was generic and bland; its story lacked the heart of “To All the Boys” and was instead full of wearisome clichés.

The film’s plot revolves around high schooler Brooks Rattigan developing an app called “The Stand-In” in order to make money to attend Yale. Users of the app request Brooks to go on dates with them, and the app allows them to select Brooks’ personality, interests and style.

Brooks gets the idea for the app after being paid by a girl’s father to take his daughter, Celia (Laura Marano), the stereotypical over-it nonconformist, to her school’s dance. Of course, the two develop a sort of transactional friendship: Brooks helps Celia get a date with her crush, and Celia gets Brooks an interview at Yale. Along the way, Brooks turns into someone he’s not and hurts all of the important people in his life.

Overall, the plot of “The Perfect Date” was very basic, as were the characterizations. Brooks and Celia were one-dimensional characters following a hackneyed story line. Brooks and Celia’s relationship was cliché, and Celia’s rebel-girl characterization started to wear on me by the end of the movie. Celia wasn’t very friendly or endearing throughout the film, though I did appreciate her rejection of Brooks’ first, insincere apology, when she told him that she would not be his “backup” choice.

On that note, I didn’t find anything charming about Brooks either, besides the fact that he was played by Noah Centineo. In Brooks’ blind quest to finance his dream school, he treats his friend Murph like a jerk, hurts Celia and even says some mean things to his dad. By the end, Brooks just magically turns himself around, realizing what a hypocrite he has been and making things right.

Though the film didn’t live up to the hype for me, it was interesting that “The Perfect Date” takes place in Connecticut, however unrealistic of a Connecticut it was. Brooks is from Bridgeport, and Celia is from Greenwich, but the movie could have easily been set in any two made-up towns because Brooks did not behave like the “poor kid from Bridgeport” he claimed he was.

Hilariously, one scene gave a bird’s eyes view of Brooks driving his classmate’s fancy car through a bustling, lit-up city at night that looked more like Hollywood than anywhere in Connecticut. I at least give the filmmakers credit for having the right license plates on the cars and the right area codes in the cell phone numbers seen in the film, though.

The most relevant and contentious part of the movie, at least for any UConn student, will be Brooks’ bashing on and subsequent acceptance of admission from UConn. When his father encourages him to attend our humble school (read: top-rated public research university) who was offering him a full ride, no less, Brooks states that “UConn is like the girl down the street who eats food in bed and smells like it.”

His dream school, the refined Yale University, however, is “smart. She’s stylish but not flashy. She’s cultured, speaks multiple languages, probably knows how to sail.” Well! Excuse me!

At one point in the movie, Brooks even states that if “You get accepted by [Yale], that means you’re somebody special.” Thankfully, by the end of the movie, Brooks realizes that it’s better to be yourself and attend a university that supports who you truly are, and that you’re only special if you express your true self.

Brooks dreaded the thought of attending UConn until the end of the movie (when he makes the right choice to become a Husky because he could be his true self at UConn!), but I still thought the moment was funny, if only because everyone’s current celebrity crush played a character who was considering attending the university where I go.

Though Brooks finally understood that being yourself makes you unique, “The Perfect Date” as a movie did not. Its cliched, tired plot and characters were nothing special, but the movie is perfect to watch with your friends and wonder what it would be like to see Noah Centineo — I mean, Brooks Rattigan — wandering around campus.

Rating: 2.5/5


Stephanie Santillo is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.santillo@uconn.edu.