Teen movies are getting worse and worse

The Perfect Date, starring Noah Centineo, is one of many teen rom-coms that Netflix has released. It centers on the main character’s antics as he provides his services as a stand-in date to save money for college. (Photo is public domain)

Every now and then I like to scroll on Netflix to see what they’ve added to the site. That is how I came across the movie The Perfect Date. I would normally scroll past it, but when I saw that Noah Centineo was in it I knew that this would be a great movie to make fun of.

Netflix decided to capitalize on Centineo’s popularity by slapping together all of the classic rom-com cliches and making a script in twelve minutes. Usually, I enjoy making fun of bad movies, but this was so cringey I felt physical pain watching it. If I hadn’t been determined to see this entire movie through, I would have stopped watching in the first ten minutes.

The main character Brooks Rattigan, played by Noah Centineo, offers his services as a fake date to save money for college. Everything is fine until he starts to develop real feelings for one of his fake dates, played by Camila Mendes from Riverdale. His friends and family notice how he’s changed since he started hanging out with rich kids, and he has to choose between the girl of his dreams and the people he cares about most.

The movie’s plot consist of mostly of rom-com cliches. Watching it gave me a sense of déjà vu and I swore I’d already watched this exact plot play out a thousand times: the unpopular kid finds a way to get in with the popular group, his old friends don’t like how he’s changed, he learns something important about disregarding social norms, the girl he should have been with was next to him all along, and all that garbage.

The dialogue is absolutely horrendous. In typical teen movie fashion, they try to cram in as many references to pop culture and social media as possible. It almost made me want to vomit at how obvious their pandering was. The writers also assume that everyone watching needs the plot to be explicitly stated for them to understand what is going on.

If I had to pick the worst thing about the movie it would definitely be the characters. Brooks is your typical male protagonist–that is to say, he has no distinguishing character traits or interests. All we know about him is that he’s ambitious, and he hates his dad for some dumb reason. It really annoyed me how they portrayed his character as a poor kid just because he has a hand-me-down car, goes to public school, and works at a sandwich shop. Brooks having a job and his dad not being able to afford to send him to an Ivy League school doesn’t indicate that he’s poor. It really annoyed me how even though him being poor was a big part of his character, when his dad tells him he got a free ride to UCONN, a public university in Connecticut, he throws a hissy fit saying that he’s “not going to waste three years of hard work to go to public school.” Whoever made this movie apparently has no idea what life is like for the poor or middle-class.
Another thing that bothered me about his character was that he’s an all A student, he works at a sandwich shop, and he goes on these fake dates constantly. How? I barely have time to get 7 hours of sleep and do all my homework let alone to work a job after school and go to parties every day.

Even worse than Brooks is Celia, the edgy girl who prefers wearing boots and hanging out at coffee shops than doing stereotypical rich girl things. I find these kinds of characters ironic because they’re all about individuality and being different and all that jazz, yet everything they say is stereotypical. The audience is supposed to think she’s cool because she’s rich, but she doesn’t care about getting into an Ivy League or going to parties. Her character is the epitome of the shallow, edgy girl who criticizes society on unimportant things then turns around and contributes to the toxic teenager environment.

To be fair, I did go into this movie with the intention of making fun of it, so I admit that I’m biased. I also don’t particularly like Noah Centineo because he’s a bad actor and his personality seems like a facade to make teenage girls fall in love with him. But all that aside, I feel like I would have hated this movie anyway. It’s incredibly painful to watch and a waste of an hour and a half.

This movie is a perfect example of the formulaic teen romcom: starts with a montage of the character living their life and complaining about some small aspect of their upper-middle-class/middle-class lifestyle, the audience is introduced to the nerdy best friend and the main love interest, obligatory fashion montage, you get the idea. It annoys me because of how lazy it feels. It bothers me how movie companies don’t try to break out of their genre because they know their audience will watch it anyway. I’m still mad that I forced myself to watch this for over an hour when I could have spent that time doing literally anything else. If you want to watch this movie to make fun of it, then go ahead but it’s going to feel like an enormous waste of time when you’re done.

If you want to read another review of The Perfect Date, check out Mariana Herrera’s review of it!



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