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No, I do not remember my SAT score, but I have taught enough high school students terrorized by the thought of how a four digit number could totally ruin their lives (i.e., deny them the college of their dreams) to realize that this is a tender subject. Which is why it is nice to report that "The Perfect Score" does take things seriously at the same time it is having fun with the paranoia. I might not be able to answer any of the SAT questions that pop up during the movie, but I do know that the screenplay by Mark Schwahn (creator of "One Tree Hill"), Marc Hyman ("Osmosis Jones") and Jon Zack ("Out Cold") is a lot better than I would have thought for a movie like this 2004 comedy.
The story takes place in Princeton, New Jersey which is, oddly enough, where you find the Princeton Testing Center that is the home of the SAT exam (SAT stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test but one of the running gags in this film is the effort to come up with a more appropriate meaning to the anagram). The first SAT exam of the year has come and gone and Kyle (Chris Evans) discovers his score is too low to get him into Cornell and Anna (Erika Christensen) can apparently forget about her parents' dream of Brown. The next exam is in two weeks and since getting smarter in a fortnight is not likely, stealing the exam sounds like a good idea. Kyle's friend Matty (Bryan Greenberg), already bound for Maryland, is willing to help and they approach Francesca (Scarlett Johansson), whose daddy happens to run PTC and can provide a way in. The final members of the group are Desmond (Darius Miles), a basketball star whose mom wants him to go to college, and Roy (Leonardo Nam), a stoner who is involved only because he knows about what is going on.
Now, in the real world stealing one SAT exam does not do you any good because there are several versions, so the person sitting next to you can have different questions or the questions are in a different order (or both). But that is besides the point in "The Perfect Score" and I ended up liking this movie a lot more than I thought I would for three reasons. The first I cannot tell you about because it would spoil the movie, but it has to do with an interesting twist on expectations. The second is the character of Desmond's mother (Tyra Ferrell), who has an impact on more than just her son. This film plays a lot with the stereotypes, from class brain to dumb jock to stoner, and I like the way Desmond's mother fits into that mold as well. The third is that this film comes up with a really, really great line about why not to be scared about the questions on the SAT, spoken, of course, by the most ironic character in the mix.
"The Perfect Score" is an enjoyable little caper comedy that certainly exceeds expectations, which is not a bad recommendation given most teen comedies today. The characters manage to avoid being stupid, a standard pitfall in the genre, although I suspect there are those who will be disappointed with the way things get resolved at the end. I also think it was nice that if Scarlett Johansson could not get an Oscar nomination for either "Lost in Translation" or "Girl With a PEarl Earring" then at least she got to do a decent "Matrix" takeoff in this film. Plus it was interesting to see Darius Miles who went to the pros instead of attending St. Johns University play a character who does the opposite, although it is ironic to see Mike Jarvis play himself since he had been fired from the St. Johns post by the time "The Perfect Score" was released.
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on January 8, 2006
The Perfect Score isn't the smartest film around. Nor is it the dumbest. On a bell curve, it would be graded slightly above average.

To be perfectly honest, my wife and I liked The Perfect Score better than the other, far more highly rated, Scarlett Johansson movie Ghost World. Now, *that* movie was a steaming pile. Yet, it's considered quite good by critics and viewers alike. Go figure.

The Perfect Score is a more entertaining movie than Ghost World. The ensemble cast offers enough humor to keep the plot moving and the movie interesting. No, it's not the The Breakfast Club. But, frankly, The Breakfast Club isn't The Breakfast Club the way most of us remember it, anyway. That movie doesn't really hold up some 20 years on and, in fact, looks about as goofy as The Perfect Score in plot and execution. Actually, there were a few moments of genuine hilarity and near brilliance in The Perfect Score.

Scarlett sizzles as usual. She's a hottie with a lot of talent -- quite a rarity in Hollywood these days, where hotties rule whether they're talented or not.

But the other actors turned in nice performances, too.

I disagree with the Amazon editorial reviewer who wrote, "Still, only [Leonardo] Nam and Johansson (who, after Ghost World, Lost in Translation, and Girl with a Pearl Earring, is becoming a true movie star) stand out of the bland pack."

We thought the acting was pretty good from all performers, even NBA player Darius Miles who was wooden and somewhat disengaged, but no more so than Keanu Reeves -- and look where Reeves is these days: an A-list powerhouse.

The plot is thin. The entire movie is fluff. But it's well-made, entertaining fluff. In Scarlett's canon of movies, I'd rank this one ahead of a few others. It's worth watching and, I think, will keep you at least chuckling to the end.

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on December 21, 2015
This movie cracks me up. It's along the same lines as Breakfast Club from the 80's where a bunch of misfits come together with a single purpose. In this case, it's the SAT's. This movie plays into every teens fear that a single test will determine their future. Why not steal the test instead of studying? There's a lot that goes into stealing the SAT, and with that premise a movie and the characters are born. It's not the best movie, but it's a lot of fun and doesn't take itself seriously.
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HALL OF FAMEon August 1, 2006
The film is all about the SATs and I'm surprised that ETS allowed them to make it. Certainly it makes ETS look like a company with a bunch of nitwits running it, and in addition shows that they have lousy security and any bunch of six random idiot teens could break in and get all of the answers to any particular SAT exam. Was product placement so important to ETS that they let the filmmakers run down their whole organization in this way? This is not even to mention the gfeneralized, pervasive indictment of the whole SAT system that the Scarlett Johansson character, Francesca, spouts throughout the whole movie and which is, indeed, the movie's most interesting selling point. It's like the FAHRENHEIT 911 of standardized testing.

Otherwise it falls into a slavish imitation of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, with a bit of HARRY AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE thrown in, redeemed by the presence of the divine Chris Evans, who makes every movie he's in an overwhelming visual and sensory experience, as though Aldous Huxley had released some pleasure-inducing "soma" gas into the ventilation system of the theater you're watching him in. Is he a real person, or actually a god come to earth to provide nirvana to the millions? Here he plays "Kyle," sort of a switch up for Chris in a way, as the thoughtful would-be architect who can't get good enough SAT scores to get himself into Cornell. ("Cornell University," the guidance counselor adds, just in case we were thinking it was Cornell Community College Kyle was aiming for.)

Chris has played characters called Jake, Adam, Ben, Bryan AND Ryan, Seth, Bryce and Johnny Storm, but Kyle is one of his best parts yet. A row of perfection, like clay ducks in a shooting gallery, each identical, all of them ideal.
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on June 9, 2015
Being that this was an MTV movie, I was not expecting that much going on. However, it was much better than I anticipated. It was also interesting to see a younger version of Scarlett Johannson as a rebellious rich girl. It's very different from the normal MTV movies that people are used to seeing.
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on March 22, 2005
Like many I'm sure, I rented this only because Scarlet is in it. I expected a horrible movie, but really it wasn't too bad. Moved along nice. Funny in spots. You got your stressed out students, their goofy plans to steal the SAT scores, and of course you know it's a Hollywood feel-good teen movie, so you know in the end they aren't really gonna USE those scores. That'd make 'em bad, huh? Bad bad bad. ;) But still, it was better than expected and I never once had my finger hovering over the stop button.
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on November 6, 2012
a few laughs as "smart" kids steal test answers so they can get what each wants.
some may believe kids would steal answer & not use them but not me. if an effort is made by someone then they will go all the way. otherwise just teen kids fun movie doing teen stuff. there is real life thing I'd like to say: ivy league schools dismiss sat test, they want hobbies & risk taking. they look for people who will bring fame & spot lights to the school.
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on March 2, 2005
The Perfect Score is another movie in the line of Mtv's attempt at movie making. It's a nonsensical look at the bitter fact that the SAT just plain sucks. With various up and coming actors (Evans, Greenburg [from the widely popular One Tree Hill tv series], Johanssen, and Nam) plus one NBA star (no idea why), the movie's premise is that a group of score challenged high schoolers are going to steal the answers to the SAT.

This movie is worthy of five stars to for several reasons. Not one of which would be the actual story line, but the simplistic and appropriated humor. Greenburg (the reason i rented the movie) has a very funny speech about how the SAT doesn't fight fair after he is conviced the SAT is "pimping out" his girlfriend. Unforgetable is how Nam's character Roy refers to himself as the ghost. He delivers a very humorous performance with a very insightful line about the SAT. All the acronyms for SAT in the film are choice and the script flows well even though it is driven by a very farcical plot. Ryan Phillip also plays a small role as Kyle's (Chris Evan) brother who lives in the families garage. The film is a delight to watch with the excellent charater interaction and nice twist ending. Definately see this movie to get over your SAT anxiety, or just for a nice retreat from all the bland movies out there.
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on January 30, 2006
I'm glad I didn't listen to any negative comments about this movie. It's not that The Perfect Score is the best movie ever, but it makes for an entertaining hour and a half or so. It reminded me of a combination of the movies Dead Man on Campus (another fun, fun movie that I'd absolutely recommend), a little bit of Breakfast Club and a little bit of Sixteen Candles as the Asian kid reminded me a lot of Long Duck Dong. If you liked any of the movies I just mentioned, then you should give The Perfect Score a chance. If you've read about the plot and it sounds up your alley, give this movie a try. It's only $5.50 at Wal-Mart right now and you can't beat a price like that on something you'll likely watch over and over again. Not an A+ but certainly a solid B to B+ from me. Happy viewing!
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on March 13, 2005
I am a Scarlett Johansson fan and that is why I bought the movie and she did not disappoint me. This is much better than her performance in the Spider thriller/comedy movie. But this movie suffers from a script that was not thought all the way though and it needed more work on it before they went to production. Still, this is one of the first movies where Scarlett starts to show herself as a superstar. In fact she actually does a little bit of acting, rather then to just have that reflective lost in translation look on her face.
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