Capturing the same high school romantic comedy magic found in 1980s hits “Sixteen Candles” and “Pretty in Pink,” this newest Netflix original movie focuses on difficult high school relationships. Two teens unbelievably perplexed at one another finally understand their perfect love chemistry amidst the turmoil of senior year dating blues. “The Perfect Date” stylishly encompassing the social media playground of match-making with the standard barrier, older school networking comprised of high school hallway acquaintances.
“A Perfect Date” highlights today’s youth and their uncanny ability to find dates with a mere swipe of a finger on a smart phone’s app. Meet Brooks Rattigan, a high school senior with the lifelong goal of attending Yale. Brooks, with stellar grades, understands that academic prowess is only part of the successful equation required to enter an Ivy League school. It also takes money and a bold admissions essay. But, mostly, it takes money.
Setting a contemporary tone throughout, “The Perfect Date” navigates Brooks’ harmless chaperone gig advertised on a dating app created by his best friend—a programmer. Brooks’ hustle at being whomever his date wants him to be on any given night is both financially rewarding and self-destructive.
The on-screen charm between Brooks (Noah Centineo) and his strong-willed, first-date Celia (Laura Marano) is refreshing and comical in every scene. Their snappy, and often snarky, one-liners delivered in full-automatic, beast mode. True feelings and honesty only slowly rising to the top of their text messages and public confrontations.
Pretending to be that special someone for a night of hire, whether it’s attending art shows or rodeos, wears down Brooks to the point of not remembering who he is or what he wants at Yale or in life. He can no longer truly understand himself or his collegiate goals. It’s here, that “The Perfect Date” earns a passing grade through self-reflection.
This film subconsciously promulgates teens wanting to change the world, yet not knowing how. Or the college-bound A-student with desires to be a “game-changer,” but unable to describe in what kind of game? All young minds strapped with the notion that a simple course heading will be enough to navigate a career. The rest? Well, they’ll figure that out as they get to it.
“The Perfect Date” deserves a high letter-grade for originality, but remains predictable throughout. Yes, we know these two high school outcasts are the perfect date and fit for each other. But how they go about acknowledging their attractiveness for one another is both funny and symbolic of today’s social media love matchings.
Looking for a current high school rom-com reminiscent of the ‘80s matchup of Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall? You’ve found it. Enjoy.
“The Perfect Date” is a Netflix original movie rated PG-13 with a running time of 1 hour and 30 minutes.