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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Perfect Score (Widescreen Edition)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon August 1, 2006
Format: DVD
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2007
Format: DVD
I remember when this film came out. I remember that because it was during the same time period where I had lots of school work to take care of. I was studying for my mid year exams and not that long ealier, I had taken the PSAT's. A movie this kind of plot, a bunch kids stealing test scores, definetly got my attention. At the time, there was also another comedy in theaters-Eurotrip. From the commercials, I thought the Perfect was going to laugh out loud funny and Eurotrip was just going to be some dumb retarded comedy. However I did miss both films when they were in theaters but I did catch'em when they were later on tv. Here is what's ironic-I found Eurotrip to be hilarious (and one of my favorite films today) and The Perfect score to be a complete waste of time. Obviousely this movie was really dissapointing.

Kyle is a role model student with good grades and hopes of being an architect. However, he finds himself having difficulty on SAT. His friend Matty is an underachiever who would like to do well on the SAT so he can go to the same college as his girlfriend. They both conclude that the SAT is kinda pointless (b/c it doesn't test you on how smart you are) and unfair (b/c its standing in their way) They enlist the help of Francessca whose father owns the building of where the SATs scores are located. Kyle also slips the plan to his crush Anna, a very intelligent student whose has some the best academic achievements in school but finds trouble with the SAT. Anna brings in Desmond, a start basketball player who needs a 900 or better to get into college. The last person to join the team is Roy a slacker and stoner. With their combined brain power, the can devise a perfect plan in order to achieve the perfect and thus create a happy and bright future.

A movie with a plot like this sounds funny. However, it ultimatley failed to deliver laughs. The only scene I laughed at was when Kyle's brother said what his score (it was something really LOW like 125). The movie does try to be funny but in the end, it really just tries to force the audience to laugh. I am gonna go watch Eurotrip now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2006
Format: DVD
Six high school students plan to steal the answers to the upcoming SAT tests. This idea surely sounds interesting, and so are the names of the actors involved here, especially when Scarlett Johansson is among them. However, director's awfully trite, mediocre treatment completely ruined the central idea, and even Johansson, talented as she is, does not look like the same player you have seen in other better films that made her name famous.

Actually Ms. Johansson, who looks nice as a punk girl Francesca, might be the only reason for you to watch the dull and unfunny film (though she is not top-billed). The six characters we see in `The Perfect Score' are just the six stereotypes we find in high school dramas - Chris Evan's character Kyle wants to be an architect and he has a best friend Matty (Bryan Greenberg). Yes, that sort of things, so you also see a stoner Roy (Leonardo Nam) who can be a brilliant genius when he wants to, and a nice Afro-American guy Desmond who wants to be a professional basket player. And meet Ms. Christensen's dead serious character whose mother is terribly obsessed with education. Finally cameo Matthew Lilard pops up as a concerned brother to one of them, playing the guitar, doing jam session with a hair dryer.

The actors are doing their best, but with this weak script, whose story is deprived of its possibly edgy aspects, they can do nothing but repeating the tricks other actors had done in the high school comedies in the past. Everything looks like coming from some stock footage, and director Brian Robbins seems satisfied with this mildly entertaining portraits.

As to the students' heist plans, it must be said that it is too perfunctory that even with the suspense of disbelief, it never interests and convinces us. At the end credit the film makes it clear that the people at ETS (responsible for the SAT tests) didn't participate in the making of the film. Maybe they should have, and told the filmmakers how they guard information about the tests or the files in their building. The six students can break into the building so easily, as if watered-down version of `Mission Impossible,' that watching them sneak into the institute is no fun at all.

And the film has virtually nothing else to show us. The film is mildly amusing all through, and that's all I can say with confidence. `The Perfect Score' is so afraid of offending us with the initial concept, and you can feel it pulling punches.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2006
Format: DVD
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.

Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2005
Format: DVD
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The plot of THE PERFECT SCORE is easy enough: six very different high school students bond together to steal the answers to the SAT test the night before it is administered. The movie takes a little while to build up and tries to be a teen version of THE BREAKFAST CLUB meets MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. Unfortunately, the people who originally came to see this film (and the ones whom MTV marketed it to) weren't really coming to watch a movie; they were coming to see the people who were starring in the movie. The girls wanted to see Chris Evans, Bryan Greenberg, and basketball player Darius Miles while the guys came to see Erika Christensen and Scarlett Johansson. Therefore, though the movie has an interesting set-up, it never really delivers and ends up being just another teen movie that most people will forget fifteen minutes after watching it. I enjoyed watching the movie, but outside of the people who star in it, there's nothing outstanding about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2006
Format: DVD
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2004
Format: DVD
This has to be the worst film I've seen this year. As the Amazon.com description reads "mutuant hybrid of a heist movie and The Breakfast Club", it's exactly right, but neither story is done well. This film is also filled cliche' upon cliche'. It is not funny. It is not entertaining. It is, however, a good way to waste 90 minutes of life with zero fulfilmment. Not even Chris Evans and Erika Christensen, the "beauties" of the movie, could save this horrible script. No wonder this made it to rental shelves faster than Godzilla did!

I wonder what SAT score the writer/producer got? After seeing this tedious piece of trash, I'd guess not too high.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
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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