Fed up with writing obituaries for a local New Jersey newspaper, the inquisitive and ambitious journalist, Adam Lawrence, finally gets his big break, when--as a Rolling Stone reporter--gets to interview a well-off entrepreneur accused of drug-dealing. However, one brief look at the tight-bodied members of a modern gym will have Adam itching to write an exposé on the latest craze of fitness and health centres, where aerobics instructors like the ferociously-astonishing, Jessie, are the absolute stars. But, Jessie, really despises interviewers. Will she ever let him into her sultry world of cool music, high-energy exercise, and perfection?Written by
PERFECT reminds you of precisely what you wanted to forget about the mid-80s, including the movie, itself. That's why so many are uncomfortable with it, myself included.
Yes, Jamie Lee looks lovely (though she'd go on to look much better -- and much healthier -- in subsequent films), and it's fun to grin along with Travolta and the Tent in His Shorts in that entirely-too-long "hot aerobics moves" sequence.. But PERFECT is useful for one thing and one thing only, being an send up of East coast pretentiousness and presumptions about the "Los Angeles"/airhead image. Oh yes, and it's probably the only film on earth to mention the ABSCAM scandal of 1980. Give it two stars for that, alone.
There's a not-so-subtle gay undercurrent running through PERFECT be it the impromptu Boy George Fandom conference at the hotel, the pretty blonde fruits prancing around Sport Connection and incredulous "Chippendale (i.e. homosexual) boyfriend" of the aggressively heterosexual Sally; or the purposely genderless introduction of Jessie's "swim coach" rumor. Be honest: you wait with bated breath until the movie provides you with the sigh of relief that the swim coach was indeed male. It could have been worse: all that memory trauma could have been over an allegation of...lecherous PE teacher LESBIANISM...(gasp, the horror!)
Before you tell me I'm imposing today's standards on yesterday's film, consider that these were pertinent issues, particularly for gays and gays-to-be, even (perhaps even "especially") in 1985.
But I found myself actually agreeing with the central message of the film, as articulated by that hokey Travolta analogy on pop culture and individual dreams.
Diagnosis: if PERFECT is any indicator, the "California"/LA image is the fantastic, mass-marketed product of the very people claiming to critique it from such an "objective" distance. Whatever it's funny-ha-ha flaws, anyone over age 35 is acutely aware that we're really only laughing at ourselves, our active denial of blatant, obvious 1980s in your fact homosexuality; our long-spent cans of sparkly rouge, styling mousse, and L'Oreal; synth bass and gated snare dance lines, the wrong-then-and-wrong-now spandex, and pushbutton on-screen/zero-chemistry heterosexual promiscuity.
PERFECT is the warped mirror back in our face. That is precisely WHY it was such a monumental failure at the BO. Two stars for that part, too.
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