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Teenager Holly Hamilton is tired of moving every time her single mom Jean has another personal meltdown involving yet another second-rate guy. To distract her mother from her latest bad choice, Holly conceives the perfect plan for the perfect man.. an imaginary secret admirer who will romance Jean and boost her shaky self-esteem. When the virtual relationship takes off, Holly finds herself having to produce the suitor, borrowing her friend's charming and handsome Uncle Ben as the face behind the e-mails, notes and gifts. Holly must resort to increasingly desperate measures to keep the ruse alive and protect her mom's newfound happiness, almost missing the real perfect man when he does come along. Written by
THE PERFECT MAN is another one of those fluff romantic comedies that just keep recycling - single mom and pseudorebellious daughter make everything work after plotted plans go astray. This is one of those films that you rent because the video store is closing and you need a somnolent-inducing DVD. But in the case of THE PERFECT MAN there are some nice surprises!
Jean Hamilton (Heather Locklear) is a 40ish single mom who bakes specialty cakes and can't land a man. Whenever she gets close to a commitment or when she is passed by, she runs, family in tow, to a new city, new friends, new opportunities to find a man before she is too old. Her daughters Holly (Hilary Duff) age 16 and little Zoe (Aria Wallace) go along with the transplanting moves, understanding and supportive of their mother but yearning for some permanence. The newest move is to Brooklyn: Jean is welcomed back to a bakery of friends, Holly finds reasons to like her new school (friends female and male) and Zoe starts on a run toward a spelling bee. Since Jean is so desperate for a man, she is swept off her feet by a fellow baker who is sweet but otherwise fairly low on the food chain. Holly and her new friend Amber (Michelle Nolden) plan a way to capture Jean's attention from a created secret lover, their information comes from Amber's restaurateur Uncle Ben (Chris Noth) who tells them the secrets to winning a woman's heart.
Let the games begin: first flowers, then gifts, then letters, then email, then I'm, and Jean feels as though there really is someone special out there who loves her. But as all games go, this one has its successes and major failures and as Holly grows to understand her mother's dilemma, she finds her own in her reluctance to accept the fact that her friend Adam (Ben Feldman) has fallen for her and wants her around. From that point it is a comedy of errors until the final frames where, as expected, all works out for the best for everyone.
Shallow, yes. Been there, done that, yes. But the surprise is the growth of Heather Locklear as an actress! She has come along ways from her 'Dynasty'/'Melrose Place' days as basically set decor and has accepted her age gracefully, coupling that with a nuanced acting ability that makes her a welcome 'newcomer' to the screen. She is worth sitting through this little yawner, making it come alive every time she is on screen. Grady Harp
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