Let me preface this by saying that "The Perfect Date" was not a bad movie, nor am I saying that it was written poorly in general or because men were at the helm of this film. But something about it left me feeling dissatisfied.
It had all the qualities to make a great teen romcom- a notable cast, teenage angst and awkwardness, and even techy affixation. It was all there. The social media context, the stardom that has become Noah Centineo and Camila Mendes, the highly relatable and quirky girl who just doesn't fit in. But it still felt like it didn't live up to its potential.
The film lacked depth and understanding of the reality of teenage-dom. It felt as though someone was trying desperately to grasp at the fun ease of a 1980s Hughes movie but without the perception or compassion of what a young adult is actually going through.
True, I'm a 22-year-old female in college, so I am a few years removed from actually being a teenager. But to me, the movie still seemed a little too forced and a little too presumptuous about being a 17-year-old kid in high school.
With Brooks (Noah Centineo) trying to raise enough money to go to the Ivy League college of, you guessed it, Yale, his incentives are lackluster and more importantly his relationship with his dad is offensive. He is continually putting his father down and acting as though he hasn't done enough for him but they both end up shrugging it off and joking about it. Like real men do, right? Brooks' storyline faulters on the 'good' guy with a heart of gold who falls in love with the girl from the other side of the tracks, complete with angst and combat boots.
Celia (Laura Marano) is a tough character to dissolve on her own. While I've heard many people talk about unlikable she is, I actually found myself relating to her blunt behavior and gracelessness. However, her character was driven to a point of exhaustion that never allowed her to actually show any genuine emotion or humanness. I know this is a crazy concept, but maybe give a female character something other than the love interest plot. Tell me about her family, show me what her interests are, give her depth instead of just telling us she's deep. We get it.
And of course, the complete disservice that was Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis). Another "sidekick" character that had all the fun, quirky minorities shoved into one. An app maker by day and coder by night, who just so happens to be in love with "Tuna Melt on Seven Grain" boy. We also never get to see anything personal about him or his sexuality. Sure, it's totally cool not to have an overdone coming out story mixed in, but why not throw in a talk between Brooks and Murph about their relationships and getting more of an insight to why Murph was so freaked out about sandwich boy.
The storyline was there, everything was set up for another wonderful Netflix teen movie of the ages. But it failed to convey understanding and emotion through the characters. I hope we can get more diverse stories as time goes on. I want teens and kids to be able to relate and learn from the people they see on their screens, to find a little piece of themselves in what they watch and make them feel something good.