The Perfect Date
Romantic comedies. We cry to them, we laugh to them, we can’t get enough of them. From
classics like Sleepless in Seattle to Notting Hill, there’s nothing we love more than a girl-meets-
boy, rags-to-riches story.
At the head of the romantic comedy genre is Netflix. With movies like To All the Boys I’ve
Loved Before, Set It Up, and the newly-released Someone Great, some say the streaming service
is the leader of the revival movement of rom-coms.
But with many great movies also comes a few bad ones. That bad one is Netflix’s new original
movie, The Perfect Date. Yes, this movie stars everyone’s favorite heartthrob Noah Centineo,
who captured our hearts as Peter Kavinsky in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. But don’t let his
boyish charm and dimples fool you. Instead of being a cute, funny rom-com, The Perfect Date
delivers a portrait of an entitled, insufferable high school jerk (and not the kind Jerk likes) who is
long overdue in getting some common sense knocked into him.
At first, Netflix’s The Perfect Date seems like your average, decent rom-com. Noah Centineo
plays Brooks Rattigan, a determined high school senior, who is willing to do anything he can to
attend his dream school, Yale. After being paid by a girl’s father to take his daughter,
Celia––played by Laura Marano––to her school’s dance, Brooks suddenly has the idea to
develop an app called “The Stand-In” to finance his tuition. Of course, Brooks gets his gay best
friend Murph, played by Odiseas Georgiadis, to physically create the app; you know, the classic
G.B.F. in every generic romantic comedy? Yeah, The Perfect Date has that too. The app allows
customers to fill out a questionnaire to create a made-to-order boyfriend. The purpose of the app
is not to find true love or to be a prostitute (and the film really wants you to know that he’s not a
prostitute), but to make Brooks be whomever the customers want him to be. It’s essentially
GrubHub for people.
As the movie goes on, Brooks continues to rack in money. Celia helps him get an interview with
the director of admissions at Yale and sets him up with rich girl Shelby––played by Riverdale’s
Camila Mendes––while Brooks helps Celia get a date with her crush. And if you didn’t guess it
already (because the predictability of this movie is outstanding), Brooks realizes that he loves
And this is all a problem because…?
Men are trash. It’s a known fact. That’s why it’s so unsurprising that Brooks ends up becoming a
real jerk by treating everyone terribly. Yet, Brooks just magically becomes a good person and
“fixes” all his mistakes within the last five minutes of the movie. Basically, he gets rewarded for
his shitty behavior––he gets the interview, he gets the rich girl, he gets the money––and viewers
never see a real transformation of his character.
A prime example of Brooks’ scumbag behavior is his relationship with his father, Charlie
Rattigan, played by Veep’s Matt Walsh. Charlie is an unemployed, depressed writer still getting
over his divorce. With so many career setbacks, he is skeptical about how he is going to pay for
his son to attend Yale; therefore, he encourages him to attend the University of Connecticut
because it’s the cheaper option.
In response, Brooks mocks his dad’s unemployment. Brooks, while sitting on his Trojan horse,
says that he hasn’t worked his “ass off for the past three and a half years to go to a public
college.” We love stuck up people who think they are better than everyone else!
Is that all?
We wish. Along with the storyline being basic, the characterization is one-dimensional and
stereotypical. Brooks represents the privileged teenage boy, Celia as the “over-it” nonconformist,
Shelby as the rich girl, and Murph as the gay best friend. But let’s give credit where credit is due.
Murph stands as a beacon of hope, one of comedic relief and morality, in the face of a terrible
Also, it’s important to note that The Perfect Date significantly lacks diversity in its casting. The
only non-white actors in the film are Odiseas Georgiadis and Camila Mendes. And, of course,
neither of these people have dominant roles in the film.
But what about the movie’s message?
The message—to be yourself—in general is important; however, the message becomes buried
under the distressingly dull storyline and lack of character development. Really, The Perfect
Date teaches viewers that by living their lives full of different facades, you will find your true
love and will discover who you really are.
Of course, that is far from the truth. What makes someone “good enough” is not their wealth,
power, or appearances, but their personality. For that reason, this film is setting the wrong
precedent for young people.
Being and acting like anyone but yourself only confuses you more in finding who you are. By
looking at yourself in the mirror every day as a different person, you start to forget your own
desires, interests, and beliefs.
Stay true to yourself. Being someone other than yourself never pays off in the end. It’s not
realistic to think that you can please everyone, so why try?