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Another September, another thriller starring Black actors who have been around forever. Question is, though: Is The Perfect Guy less predictable than No Good Deed? Much less, do the actors bring the sort of intrigue needed to possibly make up for such? Well, look below.
Trigger Warning(s): Domestic Violence and Stalking
Characters & Story
For nearly 2 years Leah (Sanaa Lathan) and Dave (Morris Chestnut) have been dating. Pretty much they are the perfect couple. Issue is, Dave is dragging his feet when it comes to marriage and with Leah getting closer and closer to 40, she wants to start a family. So, being that time waits for no one, and it surely isn’t going to wait for Dave, she dumps him.
2 months later, though, in comes Carter (Michael Ealy). Someone who quickly wins over her friends and family, perhaps even quicker than Dave, and leads Leah to think she may have found the one. That is, until one night Carter snaps at someone admiring his car and it shakes Leah’s perception of him. From that point on, all Carter does is try to win Leah back to no avail and then, when Dave comes back into the picture, Carter goes from trying to win her back to ruining any chance she may have with anyone besides him. Leaving you to ask: who may ultimately get some semblance of happiness – Leah or Carter?
When it comes to Ealy, being a creeper guy is as much a keystone of his filmography as Samuel L. Jackson saying, at least once a movie, “Motherf—er!” It’s what you expect and he does it well. For with him having the look of what many women, and surely gay men, dream of, and it so easily translating to someone who looks like they would kill your kids to get back at you, he is very much in his element. For, if you never saw the trailer, you’d may actually think this was a romantic film about Leah possibly ending up in a love triangle. That is how believable Ealy is as we watch him win over everyone in Leah’s life.
But then he snaps and I swear it makes you wonder why Ealy hasn’t found himself in more high profile projects as a villain. For all that charm is turned into malice and as you witness Leah trying to get rid of Chester from her life, and the legal system not being able to help much, it really helps you understand why dating is such a daunting task. Since, as nice he can be, one thing can set him off and then he goes from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.
While Ealy’s performance is noteworthy, honestly everyone else played it tamed. Lathan remains a staple of black films but shows little reason to consider her someone who should transition to the mainstream, as does Chestnut. For while they are both capable in their roles, Chestnut doesn’t have that oomph which has taken Will Smith, Denzel, or even Michael B. Jordon to the heights they have hit, nor does Lathan have, even when fighting for her life, the intensity, or lines for that matter, which helped save Taraji P. Henson in No Good Deed.
Which is a shame since the story, outside of one thing dealing with Dave, is so predictable. I went with a friend and saw this in a theater filled with Black folks, and pretty much it seems everyone knew what was going to come next. Making the commentary perhaps the most entertaining part of the movie watching experience.
Overall: TV Viewing
I won’t say I was disappointed, for I wasn’t honestly expecting to be blown away, but being that less than 7 movies a year have a Black majority cast, and are released nationwide, it sucks when films like this make that cut. For while it isn’t horrible, and isn’t going to set back Black centered films, it certainly doesn’t seem like the type of film to inspire confidence in having any of the actors, except maybe Ealy, continue to be marquee stars. Still, what makes this a TV Viewing film, and not a skip it, is almost solely due to Ealy being able to balance the charm and psychopathic nature of his character Chester. Without him, however, this movie would absolutely not be worth your time.