Guys, I know it feels like all I write about on this website are Hollywood’s favorite barely legal thirst traps and Bella Thorne, but the heart wants what it wants, and I won’t apologize for that! Speaking of my limited interests, a few weeks ago I was over here hyping my boyfriend Noah Centineo’s new movie The Perfect Date. I may have alluded to it being the next To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before on the rom-com scale of one to I WOULD DIE FOR PETER KAVINSKY, and, y’all, I may have spoken too soon on this one. I know what you’re thinking: how can the guy whose big acting break involved playing “Jose #2” on a network that does nothing but cater to the whims of 8th grade girls (and myself) ever do any wrong? Well, Sierra Burgess was strike one, not responding to my thinly veiled come-ons in his DMs was strike two, and Brooks Rattigan is goddamn strike three.
Even though I did call out sick from work to watch this movie the minute it dropped on Netflix (and, no, HR apparently doesn’t consider looking at Noah Centineo’s abs a proper mental health day. This means war, Melissa!), I had, like, so many emotions after watching it, and most of them weren’t great. So, to spare you from the same fate I suffered, here’s my
cautionary tale recap of the movie.
The movie opens with us immediately being introduced to Noah’s character: Brooks Rattigan. We learn that Brooks is both smart and hunky, but was born on the wrong side of the tracks. Being poor means that of course Brooks can’t get laid to save his life )despite the fact that he has that face and presumably people in this movie have working eyes) or get into college (despite the fact that it is established that he is a smarty pants). K. And I thought his character’s name was going to be the hardest pill to swallow. Sighs. Nevertheless, I shall persist.
We quickly find out that it’s not that Brooks can’t get into any college; it’s that he can’t get into Yale. I guess his dad’s professor pension wouldn’t cover much of a bribe. He wants to go to an Ivy League school because, just like every f*ckboy I’ve ever matched with on a dating app, his idols are Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. If he did even one simple Google search on his idols he would have learned that neither of his idols actually attended an Ivy League, but fine.
DAD: Why don’t you want to go to UConn? I teach there so the tuition is virtually free. You’d have no debt and get a great education!
Actually his exact words were “UConn is like that girl down the street who eats food in bed and smells like it,” which I take personal offense to because I am that girl and THOSE ARE FIGHTING WORDS, BROOKS.
To hammer this “I’m poor” point home, we find out that Brooks works at an off-brand Subway in the hopes of paying for college, one five-dollar footlong at a time. Just as he’s losing hope, a rich guy from his high school shows up complaining about having to take his cousin, whom he all but describes as Quasimodo, to her school dance.
RANDOM RICH GUY: I have to take my cousin to her school dance tonight even though Madison said I could put just the tip in later tonight!!
I’ve seen the trailer for this movie so I knew this was coming, but I’m still so alarmed. Brooks, a virtual stranger to this guy, immediately asks to step in so long as he can drive his nice car and get paid AND THE GUY SAYS YES. This is your flesh and blood, and you’re willing to foist her off to the first guy who offers just so Madison can give you a half-hearted blow job later?? I’m disgusted.
Enter the sad girl aka Celia Lieberman. We find out that the reason Celia is sad and undateable is because she’s a feminist and hates wearing strappy heels! Her family not only doesn’t question that a stranger is picking her up instead of her cousin, but they actually seem grateful to get this shrew off their hands for an evening. The life lessons I’m taking away from this movie are… astounding.
Cut to the dance, where we get a lot of forced banter and lukewarm chemistry from the two of them. It’s like the writers are trying too hard to make Celia quirky and Brooks charming and it’s just not working for me. After coercing Celia onto the dance floor even though she says she doesn’t want to dance and she’s the paying customer here (Haven’t you heard, Brooks? The customer is always right!) he all but hobbles Celia with his sh*tty footwork as he tries to spy on beautiful, rich girl Shelby, who’s taking shameless selfies in the corner.
So, let me get this straight. He steps on his date’s foot while BLATANTLY checking out another girl right in front of her and this is supposed to be a perfect date? I mean, this is a date that I’ve been on before, but I wouldn’t call it perfect by any means.
Brooks, despite all of his actions proving otherwise and Celia even saying she did not have a good time, decides he’s so good at being a date that he will create an app to turn this stand-in thing into his side hustle! First of all, he makes creating an app sound about as easy as creating a Gmail account. Second of all, THIS IS TEENAGE PROSTITUTION. He is essentially pimping himself out for money! If the roles were reversed and a girl was playing Brooke Rattigan, the movie would end with her death!
Brooks gets his tech wizard of a best friend to help him create the app. To convince him to help he implies that this app will look great to colleges. As if an app that promotes the prostitution of a minor is the equivalent of joining the drama club. K. They fondly refer to the app as Grubhub but with a human trafficking twist. I paraphrase.
Cut to a montage of him going on various dates with women. I know it’s several dates based off of all the costumes. Why does this town have more themed events than my sorority did in the entire 4 years I was in college?
Celia ends up calling him because she needs his services for a second date to make her crush, Franklin, jealous and Brooks shameless drops the name of his app. Again, he sounds like every f*ckboy I’ve matched with on a dating app. Celia does not look appropriately enough disgusted by this info.
They show up at Shelby’s party where Brooks immediately tries to ditch Celia so he can shamelessly flirt with Shelby EVEN THOUGH HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE CELIA’S DATE. Celia, sweetie, I’d be taking that out of his tips if I were you.
They both separate to flirt with their intended targets: Shelby and Franklin. Both conversations feel about as painful as listening to a recording of your own voice. I’m cringing. Brooks finds Celia after he’s done hitting on another woman (remember, ladies, he’s the perfect date!), but it’s all good because he found ice cream. Celia compares Brooks to her favorite flavor of ice cream, vanilla, and it’s the most I’ve appreciated her wit all movie.
Brooks and Celia’s weird pimp/hoe relationship continues to blossom. Celia gets Brooks an interview at Yale, Brooks tells Celia she’s weird and confident and someone might find that attractive eventually, and Celia learns that Brooks has mommy issues. This is the real turning point here. She goes from “you’re a cocky asshole I would never date” to “you’re a cocky asshole because your mom abandoned you and now I’m wet.” See, Brooks, she is just like all the other girls!
Celia tries to deny her feelings by going on a date with Franklin. Remember, this is her crush, the guy she was into because she thought he was artistic and real. She quickly finds out that he’s got about as much artistic integrity as a bride-to-be trying to defend her farmhouse chic aesthetic. Ain’t that the way the cookie always crumbles, Celia?
FRANKLIN: You and Brooks remind me of a couple of dung beetles.
Honestly, I couldn’t have phrased it better myself, Frankie.
Moving on to the scheduled breakup. Celia wears strappy heels for the evening letting us know that she’s ready to compromise her sense of self for a dude who has commitment issues. Honestly, so relatable. During the very public breakup he throws her private insecurities that she divulged to him in secret in her face in front of the entire school. While Celia is getting emotionally eviscerated, Shelby is trying (and failing) to look like the whole thing isn’t getting her wet.
SHELBY: I heard you just verbally assault your girlfriend back there…
Like, am I taking crazy pills here? Why does everyone think this guy is a catch? Is being the “perfect date” synonymous with being a perfect d*ck? Because I do not understand why all of these girls are into him. Shelby and Brooks immediately start making out while I question my entire gender.
Fast forward to Shelby and Brooks’ date, and it’s not going well. Shelby is starting to find out what we’ve known for the past 60 minutes of this godforsaken movie: that Brooks has no personality and zero ambition other than getting into Yale. He’s really lucky he has that great smirk tbh.
Upon entering yet another high school dance (how many can this school possibly have in the span of a few weeks?) Shelby finds out about Brooksie’s little side hustle. Okay, I know she’s supposed to be the big shallow bitch here, but she is the only one in this entire movie who has an appropriate reaction to finding out Brooks is a teenage gigolo. THE ONLY ONE.
It’s only after Shelby dumps his ass out of sheer disgust that Brooks crawls on back to weird but confident Celia (his words, not mine).
CELIA: It turns out I’m more into oblivious, self-absorbed pricks.
God! She’s insulting you, Brooks! Could you just this once not look like a smug piece of sh*t?
After two different girls dump Brooks, he starts to realize that maybe pimping himself out for money isn’t the desirable of a quality to have. I’m slightly alarmed that there’e only eleven minutes left in this movie and he’s only just figuring this out. I’m even more alarmed that upon telling his dad he’s a male gigolo all his dad says is “I was wondering what those late nights were about.” That’s it, I’m calling child services.
BROOKS: I just feel like you gave up on life. You’re a loser, dad.
BROOKS’ DAD: Um, I’m actually a tenured professor and we live in a modest home and I can afford to send you to college for virtually nothing so why don’t you get off my hump?
THANK YOU, SIR. I’ve only been yelling this at my TV for the last 90 minutes.
Brooks realizes there’s only one girl he wants and it’s
Celia the one with self-esteem issues who might take him back. He lures her to a coffee shop under the pretenses that he wants her to read his college essay, when really, it’s a letter of his intent to be with her. It’s the only cute thing he’s done all movie. She takes him back, and, let’s face it, I would too. The end.
Despite the fact that I have done nothing but sh*t on this movie for the entirety of this post, I didn’t completely hate it. But the reason I watch these rom-coms is to find a little of that rom-com hero magic we got from Peter Kavinsky, and Brooks Rattigan was no such hero. If you were on the fence about watching this one, I’d say maybe wait and hold out until Noah actually reprises his role as Peter Kavinsky because this one left me with more feelings of rage than that absurd excuse for a Mueller report.
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