Following her critical success in Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring, Scarlett Johansson goes to the dogs in the dull "comedy" The Perfect Score, a movie about a bunch of high-schoolers who set out to steal the answers to the SATs.
The Perfect Score features a mismatched group of characters, all of whom have some reason to steal the coveted test answers - though, their reasons are pretty hard to buy. There's the smart girl (Erika Christensen of Traffic and Swimfan) who has absolutely no need to steal the test, the average kid, played by Chris Evans (soon to be the star of Fantastic Four), the pothead loser (Leonardo Nam), who, of course, is an absolute genius, the basketball player (Darius Miles) who needs a 900 to get into the school he wants, and the other guy (Bryan Greenberg) who just wants to get a good score so he can go to the school where his girlfriend attends. Oh, and there's the social outcast, played by Johansson.
If you haven't guessed, none of the characters have a very plausible reason to cheat on the SATs, which makes the entire plot really predictable and only slightly entertaining. It is not that the movie itself is bad, but that the foundations of the film are shaky. The characters' motives make no sense, and thus it is hard to connect with them. If you haven't guessed by now, by the end of the movie they figure out that it might be easier to just answer the questions themselves rather than copy down the answers.
I did like Johansson's performance, and Christensen isn't bad either. Nam steals the show with his pothead antics; he is funny in every single scene.
More than anything else, The Perfect Score suffers in that it does not work in any genre. As a teen comedy, there are very few jokes. It is definitely not a drama. A crime thriller? Possibly, but if it is, it is one of the worst ones I have ever seen.
The Perfect Score does have its moments, but for the most part is uninteresting and not very entertaining. Director Brian Robbins did his best with what he had to work with, but then again, why did he decide to make this movie in the first place?
The Perfect Score definitely does not earn a 1600.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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