The Perfect Score (2004)

(In theaters, February 2004) “It’ll be like The Breakfast Club” says one of the characters at one point, which is highly appropriate given that The Perfect Score often feels like a cross between a typical teen ensemble comedy and a heist film in the Ocean’s Eleven vein. Here, the object of desire is not money or diamonds, but self-esteem and future success in the form of SAT test results. Six different students with their own reasons join up and try to infiltrate the offices where the answers are located. It’s an excuse for a teen comedy, sure, and the “suspense” isn’t as much in whether they’ll get the answers, but in if it’s going to do them any good. (It’s carefully neutered for the parental approval of all; this is no edgy morality tale, oh no) At least the film shines when it comes to the characters; while the characterization may not be all that deep, it’s adequate, and there’s good fun in seeing Scarlett Johanssen run around as a goth girl with a pink wig after her turn in the oh-so-serious Lost In Translation. While Erica Christiansen is as hot as usual with her flawless complexion (but how much CGI was needed for such perfect skin?), it’s Leonardo Nam who steals the show as the stoner narrator “Roy”. There are plenty of technical mistakes (disappearing cameras, lousy computer security, lack of police common-sense) but it’s all in good fun, with a few oddball gags (such as a shot-perfect parody of The Matrix) thrown in for good measure. The usual teen movie stuff, worth a look for brain-free entertainment.

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