In THE PERFECT SCORE, six actors several years too old for their parts play
high school students suffering severe cases of SAT anxiety. I don't know what
SAT scores these actors got in real life, but their acting scores in this film
are very low. The actors' penchant for mumbling their lines is made worse by
the film's loud and oppressive music track.
The plot has Francesca (Scarlett Johansson), Anna (Erika Christensen), Kyle
(Chris Evans), Matty (Bryan Greenberg), Desmond (Darius Miles) and Roy
(Leonardo Nam) deciding that they will steal the answers to the next SAT.
Although each has their own reasons for this, the general motivation is so that
they can get into their favorite college. One of them has a nightmare about a
bum on the street with a placard that blames his destitute condition in life to
poor results on his SAT.
The characters are stereotypes and completely unbelievable. Anna, for example,
is the second best student in school -- although not the valedictorian, she
keeps pointing out -- but her initial SAT score was low because she froze in
the middle of the exam and couldn't do anything after that. What caused this
major shutdown of her brain on such a key day? After reading a math word
problem about a man and a woman boarding a train, her mind couldn't stop
wondering about where these fictional people were going and why.
In a comedy that has only a couple of briefly funny episodes, the best -- which
I'm told is in the trailers -- has the kids accidentally shredding rather than
photocopying the pilfered answers when they first try to steal them. The other
small laughs come from pratfalls, as Roy, the group's stoner/geek, keeps
getting tripped by his baggy, beltless pants.
The way the group finally steals the test and how they use it is really, really
ridiculous and a complete cop-out. No matter what you think about the rest of
the movie, you'll be groaning about its awful ending.
THE PERFECT SCORE runs 1:33. The film is rated PG-13 for "language, sexual
content and some drug references" and would be acceptable for kids around 12
My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave it ** 1/2. He said that the movie was nothing
special but that it was fun and had funny characters.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes