Friday, 8 April 2016

FLICK OF THE WEEK: Young love, speedy romance add spice to The Perfect Match

PICTURE 'PERFECT': Jenkins and Ventura get close in this scene from the film.

Like many young men his age, Charlie McIntyre (aka Charlie Mack) is what you call a commitment-phobe. Casual, no-strings relationships are his cup of tea. His circle of friends, relatively successful twenty- and thirty-somethings, needle him incessantly about his “rules,” but the bachelor lifestyle seems to suit him just fine, and doesn’t get in the way of his day job at a talent agency that represents top artistes.

A hardworking guy with an artistic flair, Charlie Mack is also an avid photographer of some repute, which is how he scores a lot of his hook-ups. As the film progresses, you know he’s in for a rude awakening, but he’s such a likeable character that you can’t help but feel a soft spot for the guy – a man clearly afraid of falling in love and getting his heart broken.

Charlie Mack (portrayed by smooth playboy Terrence Jenkins) is the man at the centre of all the action in The Perfect Match, a martini-smooth and eye-popping romantic comedy, populated by a host of young Black Hollywood newcomers and old pros, like Paula Patton (Charlie’s loony therapist sister Sherry) whose talents are underserved by the formulaic story.

Directed by Bille Woodruff, with a screenplay by Dana Verde, Perfect has traces of predecessors like The Best Man and Think Like a Man, but on its own it’s a bit thin on the meat. On the upside though, it boasts a pair of talented and attractive leads in Jenkins and pop singer Cassie Ventura, as the brooding “dime piece,” who becomes Charlie’s catnip after a series of encounters that redefine the idea of “fast and furious” romance. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that Cassie’s Eva eventually does a number on Mister Mack.

Elsewhere, the film makes smart, worthwhile observations about millennials balancing career, marriage and motherhood. Among Charlie’s circle of friends, we meet Lauren London’s Ginger and Robert Christopher Riley’s Victor, a madly-in-love pair who are about to tie the knot, while Donald Faison (Rick) and Dascha Polanco (Pres) are grappling with fertility issues, desperately trying to get pregnant.

Amidst all of that are cameos by Brandy Norwood, Robin Givens and rap star French Montana, among others. But it’s Charlie’s and Eva’s arc that dominates the film. Appealing actors in their own right, Jenkins and Ventura share a winning chemistry that makes their scenes together a joy to watch – and the film a reasonably satisfying experience overall. Tyrone’s Verdict: B-

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