Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Perfect Man

MPAA Rating: PG for some mildly suggestive content

Reviewed by: Lacey Mical (Callahan) Walker

Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Tween girls
Comedy, Romance, Drama
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
Featuring: Hilary Duff, Heather Locklear, Aria Wallace, Chris Noth, Carson Kressley
Director: Mark Rosman
Producer: Marc Platt, Dawn Wolfrom, Susan Duff
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

What’s wrong with being gay? Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid? Answer

What about gays needs to change? It may not be what you think! Answer

Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Sex, Love and Relationships

Holly is excited and nervous. As her friend coaxes her into a newly purchased scarlet evening gown, puzzled at Holly’s jitters, the teenager shares that this will be her first dance. Holly’s family has never lived in one place long enough for her to take part in school functions. From another room come the sounds of an argument, and a slammed door. Holly’s countenance wilts as she steps out of the dress and returns it to its hanger. She won’t be going to the dance after all. “Patsy’s back,” Holly explains, resigned, as a Cline tune floats morosely through the house, “we’ll be gone within the week.”

As predicted by her daughter, Jean Hamilton (Heather Locklear) packs up Holly (Hillary Duff) and her little sister Zoe (Aria Wallace) and the family of three leaves their Wichita home in a Brooklyn-bound car, continuing on a fruitless journey to fulfill Jean’s obsessive goal: to find the “perfect man.”

Holly and Zoe are tired of moving. They yearn to settle down somewhere and become part of a community without having to once again break all ties and follow their mother’s selfish whims. How can Jean’s search for romance be resolved? Holly has a plan…

With the help of her new-found Brooklyn native school chum, Holly endeavors to provide her mom with a secret admirer. Someone to fulfill Jean’s need for validation and who could not ever leave her or hurt her. Unfortunately, the only problem with this situation is that the man doesn’t exist. With input from her friend’s charming uncle, through notes and letters, flowers and phone calls, Holly has created for her mother an imaginary “perfect man.”

At first, Holly’s scheming seems to pay off. Jean is delighted with all the attention from the mysterious stranger who seems to know her so well, while Holly and Zoe enjoy settling into their new home with the hopes that, at last, they’ll stay put. Holly becomes increasingly distressed, though, as she faces the reality that their happiness is a time bomb.

What will happen when Jean makes the inevitable discovery that Mr. Perfect is just a fantasy? Or is he…

Neither Locklear nor Duff are known for being the most talented thesps, but they each give somewhat charming performances that help make more palatable a plot that is not at all believable, at times to the point of being ridiculous.

Were she given more screen time, young Aria Wallace who played little Zoe would have stolen the show from both the leading divas. This adorable seven year old had the audience rippling with laughter by mere facial expressions.

The flavor of this movie put me in mind of “A Cinderella Story,” thus I was not surprised to learn that it was directed and produced by the same people. Although the story lines of the two films are different, they have many similar elements. Fans of one will probably enjoy the other.

Morally, the film comes close to being squeaky clean. This easily could have been G-rated fare. Unfortunately, the few troublesome elements which were inserted are glaring, and this film is not for young kids.

The bartender at Ben’s upscale restaurant is played by Carson Kressly, who is one of the hosts of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Openly effeminate, the character makes constant references alluding boldly to his homosexuality, and there are two repugnant scenes of him flirting with construction workers. This character is not a large part in the film, but openly represents a sinful lifestyle to which many parents would not want their children exposed.

When Holly meets a new friend at school in Brooklyn, the girl makes reference to Holly’s “skin virginity,” showing off her own tattoos and piercings and flippantly stating that Brooklyn girls lose their skin virginity by the fifth grade. Later in the film, Holly mentions that she has considered getting a tattoo, on her lower back where one would only see it “if I wear my jeans low.”

In an effort to cause a ruckus, Holly’s friend goes outside her uncle’s restaurant and holds up a sign, wiggling her hips and shouting to the construction crew working across the street, “Hey, guys, free beer!”

Profanity is unusually sparse. One mild scatological term and two religious exclamations.

Jean and Holly each learn a lesson about being selfless. While initially the audience sympathizes with Holly’s character as she deals with her mother’s self-centered behavior, it is brought to light that Holly has begun patterning Jean’s way of not putting others first. In the end, both realize that they need to change.

Spiritually, this film, like most Hollywood productions, misses the mark. If only Jean were to discover that the One able to satisfy her emotional needs is the Lord Jesus Christ, who will “never leave thee nor forsake thee.” When we learn to let God be God, only then can we let people be people.

Although seasoned with a few touching mother-daughter moments, a little slapstick humor, and two or three instances of clever dialog, this film is flatly forgettable. It will play well with Hillary Duff’s ’tween fan base, and makes for a mildly entertaining “girls night out” show… if nothing else is playing.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Minor / Sex/nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Year of Release—2005 / USA release date: June 17, 2005 (wide)

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—“The Perfect Man” is a very sweet, very clean movie. This is a story that garners various issues around single parent families and resolves them in a way to be bring hope and be an encouragement. This movie promotes an ideal amidst situations that are not.

There was no foul language detected, and I don’t recall any objectionable situations. The attempted humor around the gay character was belabored and distracting. But the chemistry between Heather Locklear and Hilary Duff worked well. Overall, it was a very lighthearted, feel-good movie.

When asked if there is such a thing as the perfect man in an interview, wife and mother, Heather Locklear said, “Perfect doesn’t really exist. There’s no perfect man; there’s no perfect woman or person.” At this, Hilary Duff, who plays Locklear’s daughter, chimed in and said, “There are people who are perfect for each other.”

While this movie does seem to present men in a very ideal, perfect way, a lot of the emphasis of the story deals with the relationship between this mother and daughter. It is almost more about them learning to love each other and see their own faults than it is about finding a soul mate.
—Chris Monroe, Christian Spotlight Staff Writer
Negative—This film was about a teenage girl who tried to find her mother the perfect man. When they move to a new town, the mother is dating a guy who works in the bakery where she works. He’s an average guy, not what woman think of as a prince charming, but he seems to genuinely care about her. Hilary Duff’s character, however, judges him not to be good enough for her mother, and invents a fictional Mr. Perfect, who sends her mother flowers, and excellent love letters. In reality, it is Duff who is doing these things. Her new friend’s dad, who owns a restaurant, fits what I perceive to be women’s idea of a perfect man, so Duff arranges for them to meet, after Hilary’s mom dumps and break the heart of the average joe guy, who offered her an engagement ring. Therefore, the mother, with the “help” of her overly superficial daughter, dumps the average joe, and goes for the Mr. Perfect. Besides this, there was a homosexual bartender in this film, which is another problem entirely.

This movie makes me sick because it sends the message to young women that they should pursue the best looking guys that they can get, and should shove average joes, who have personality and compassion, to the side, breaking their hearts in the process. I find this principle to be extremely offensive, and it is continually warping the minds of girls and young ladies every day. This movie is a prime example of why guys who aren’t considered to be studs have such a difficult time getting dates nowadays. Overall, I would recommend avoiding this trash. This is because guys who are decent, but not overly handsome, have a difficult enough time getting dates without this garbage polluting the minds of young women, who are becoming convinced that looks are all that matter.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/2
—Fred, age 25
Positive—To begin with, let me say that if you are not a fan of Hilary Duff or teen chick-flicks, this movie is not for you. I thought it was a cute and fluffy movie, with fairly good morals. There are some sexual innuendoes, but nobody sleeps together before marriage in the movie. The entire movie is based around a lie, but Holly learns along the way the truth of Sir Walter Scott’s words: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Holly’s mom learns that she needs to stop running away from her problems and that her daughters love her the way she is. She also learns she shouldn’t just settle for any man, but only the one that is perfect for her.

The one major downfall to this movie was the gay bartender (who I’m sure was included for political correctness). He’s very effeminate and really just silly. He gets annoying quickly.

This would probably be a good movie for a family with girls to watch. It’s not perfect, but if you liked other Hilary Duff movies or movies like “Freaky Friday,” “What a Girl Wants,” or “Ice Princess,” you’ll probably like this one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Sarah C., age 18 (USA)
Positive—Wonderful A++
My Ratings: Excellent/5
—Cinthea, age 20
Negative—Even though it maybe a sweet movie I think that Hilary Duff made the movie less than it really was. I have nothing against her, but it was very poor acting.
My Ratings: Average/1
—Bubi, age 20

Comments from young people
Positive—…I have to disagree with the lady who said that Hilary Duff did poor acting because she stays in kid movies, rather than acting like all of the other teenage girls like Lindsey Lohan!
My Ratings: Excellent/5
—Samantha, age 11
Positive—I really have to disagree with Fred who wrote that Hilary Duff made it seem as if men have to be total “studs” to win over a woman’s heart. The reason that she made that imaginary man is to show to her mom that she shouldn’t settle for anyone just to keep from ending up alone. She said that her mom shouldn’t need a man to prove her worth, but if she wants a man she shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best. It was very thoughtful, although in the end it ended up in deceiving her mom into thinking the man was real. I love the idea of the movie, don’t settle for less, because you’re worth the best. That’s what God wants for us. And sometimes, “the best” isn’t a gorgeous, tall, dark and handsome man.
My Ratings: Good/4
—Brittany, age 15
Positive—I absolutely loved it. I thought it had a clean plot and there was nothing bad about it. Hilary totally rocked and I loved Heather!!! Props you two!!!
My Ratings: Good/5
—Bethany Southard, age 13
Neutral—First of all, I felt that the movie was mediocre because I wasn’t really into the plot (I found it very typical), and I felt that there wasn’t really anything special about it. But I really wanted to point out something. Fred said: Besides this, there was a homosexual bartender in this film, which is another problem entirely. I feel that that wasn’t a problem at all. That’s real life. There are different people out there with different lifestyles. I feel that even though you might think it’s a sin, I feel God wishes everyone to accept each other regardless to what we feel is “right” and “wrong” morally. We might feel it’s wrong, but there are going to be homosexual people in the world, and their life is not going to affect us. So I feel that having a homosexual bartender in the movie was not a problem, but it was showing life as it is today. And I feel that was the director’s purpose.
My Ratings: Good/2
—Anna, age 16
Positive—Pretty good. I think that lately Hilary Duff has been hitting the right roles, just like in “Raise Your Voice” she has somewhat parent issues. The most offensive part of the movie was probably the gay guy which didn’t bother me that much. It was kinda funny for a teenager, but you adults are probably like “I’m never lettin my kids see this, nah uh.” But overall it was a good movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—TooSexy, age 14
Movie Critics
…squeaky clean…
—Tom Long, Detroit News
…Genial though lightweight comedy about moms and daughters… Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear make this feel-good-about-yourself movie feel …well, good.
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…It is what it is—a Hilary Duff vehicle that makes for a relatively pleasant mother-daughter outing…
—Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
…dumb story…
—Stan Urankar, Sun Newspapers of Cleveland
…takes its idiotic plot and uses it as the excuse for scenes of awesome stupidity…
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…mopey and dopey …plays out like an extended version of a bad After School Special…
—Randy Cordova, The Arizona Republic