If you’re reading this, then you may be a little too old for “The Perfect Score.” Well, that depends – do movies filled with stereotypes, awkward love scenes and impassioned speeches about “finding yourself” still do it for you? If you’re mentally stuck in high school, then “The Perfect Score” is a serviceable, if trite, teen comedy/coming of age/heist flick. The heist is the hook here, because in between adolescent simpering, the movie’s six main characters plot to steal the answers to the SATs.
Kyle (Chris Evans) wants to go to Cornell but doesn’t have the scores he needs. He’s all but given up when he’s convinced by his best friend Matty (Brian Greenberg) that “the best” is biased and wrong, and the only real solution is to steal the answers. As luck would have it, they live in the same town that houses SAT headquarters, and they just happen to go to school with Francesca (Scarlett Johansson), the obligatory angry Goth girl whose father owns that very important building. How’s that for convenient?
You’d think that a girl like Francesca would be all two enterprising thieves would need, and you’d be right, but secrets have a way of getting out. Kyle tells Anna (Erika Christensen), the second smartest girl in school, who in turn tells Desmond (Darius Miles), the school’s almost-ready-for-the-pros basketball phenomenon. Desmond’s mother won’t let him go pro out of high school, so he needs to score a 900 to get into a school that will prepare him for the NBA. And then there’s Roy, (Leonard Nam), who is getting high in the school bathroom while Matty and Kyle discuss the plan and gets brought into it to keep him from squealing.
So we’ve got six young people, all with serious identity issues, all from very different backgrounds, who’ve all been labeled their whole lives and must now face a common ordeal to ensure they don’t become faceless numbers. Sound familiar? I’d call the movie a second-rate “The Breakfast Club,” but “The Perfect Score” does it for me. But it’s not nearly as inventive or funny the hallmark ’80s teen film or its counterparts, although it does have less crying, which is always a plus.
The acting is nominal and drastically over-reaching at best. The characters are all such wooden little stereotypes that it makes all the prattling about individuality a moot point. The one exception is Roy the stoner, who, if a little predictable, is still the most amusing thing on the screen.
If the premise of this film actually sounds appealing to you, then there’s enough to like about “The Perfect Score” that you won’t go home feeling shortchanged. For most people out of high school, however, “The Perfect Score,” much like the SATs, is an ordeal you’ll be glad to put behind you.