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While promoting "Pulp Fiction" back in the 1990's Tarantino while explaining his casting of John Travolta in what would be one of his most iconic roles, resurrecting his career and taking to a new status, the writer and director didn't mention "Grease" or "Saturday Night Fever" as why he thought Travolta was a good actor. He quoted loving him in movies such as "Blow Out", "Carrie" and this little gem called "Perfect". Such opinions are quite surprising since most of those films (except "Carrie") weren't box-office hits neither well criticized, some gaining cult status in the following years of its release. However, even with Quentin's approval "Perfect" still finds a great deal of unexplainable resistance among film buffs, currently giving to this one of the most absurd low ratings ever given to a quite decent movie.
A short way to explain the story is thinking of an "Absence of Malice" made for the masses: it deals with ethics in journalism with Travolta playing a biased Rolling Stone reporter while unsatisfied with the running of a controversial article involving political officials dealing with corruption charges, decides to write a new and apparently harmless article on health clubs and their new function as being a cool dating place replacing the decadent singles bars. Yeah, why bothering going in places where everybody is so down when you go to a happier place, make lots of exercise and meet guys and girls with perfect bodies? There's something worth writing he thinks. Working as an obstacle to this story is a gym instructor (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) who doesn't trust reporters after a career damaging event when a reporter distorted facts while publishing a story involving her. While Travolta's story goes under false pretensions (with a bit of truth in it as well), he can't escape resisting some affection he has by the main character of his article, who each day goes by starts to like this guy, believing he's about to write a good report on the gym and its attendees.
The stone in the way of this movie is that its lack of seriousness while the events are being unfolded, often deeply concerned about the romance between the main characters. At times you think something really dangerous is about to happen, he's being followed by someone due to the other inflammable article where Travolta is torn in between telling about what his source said to him on an exclusive interview or go to jail to protect his source, but no, the film doesn't take off much from this scenario except towards its conclusion to be used as a closure to the gym instructor situation, a predictable and not very believable device.
But "Perfect" manages to keep you hold to your seat due to the reliable and impressive performances of Curtis, Travolta, Laraine Newman, Marilu Henner and small appearances from Kenneth Welsh and David Paymer. It drags down a bit when it stays for too long in the work out exercises, fun for the actors jumping up and down to the coolest and energic 1980's soundtrack but tiring for us viewers seeing an unimaginative lack of camera angles and poor editing which shifts from two different angles instead of being more acrobatic.
Story delivered some valid points (although it can look ridiculously dated now since gym's are also definitely places for dating and no one questions those things anymore), might not be perfect (no pun intended), it was well balanced and easy to follow and feel interested. So, why viewers think this is one of the worst movies ever? Makes me wonder what some of you are watching these days. There's plenty of quality in "Perfect", you just need to open your eyes to see it. 9/10
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