S.A.T. If you can't spell it, you
definitely shouldn't be taking it.
All over the country, high school
students suffer at the hands of this exam. The results can change
a person's destiny forever. Will you go to Yale, or will you work
at the Weenie Hut? Is there a difference? Will you get into
a prestigious school to play basketball, or will you be forced into the
NBA straight from high school? Will your obsession with filling in
little circles with number 2 pencils be temporarily sated, or will you
have to color in gaps in the teeth of every celebrity in People
The Perfect Score is a heist movie. It's the story of
several kids who decide to steal the answers to the S.A.T. so they can
live their dreams. Not only is it a heist movie, but it's a teen
heist movie. This is immediately apparent because not only does
the film star teenagers, but it also stars teenagers that aren't big
Bryan Greenberg plays Matty, and you've probably never seen him
before. Chris Evans was featured previously in
Not Another Teen Movie. Erika Christensen, who you may
Traffic is also in this movie. Scarlett Johansson
previously starred in The Horse Whisperer,
Ghost World (not to be confused with
Eight Legged Freaks, Lost in Translation, and Girl with a
Pearl Earring (not to be confused with the upcoming porno, Girl
with a Pearl Necklace). Darius Miles, now playing for
the Portland Trailblazers, whose past work included
Van Wilder and the Cleveland Cavaliers, can also be seen on
screen and in scenes. Lastly, Leonardo Lam of Nobody’s Perfect
and Hacks has a role in this, too.
Okay, so maybe some of the actors are big huge stars.
But still, they're all relatively young.
As you might expect, there are a lot of lines in this flick that
feature variations on what the acronym S.A.T. stands for. Some are
more poignant than others. However, they missed a few of the
obvious ones. "Stupid Acronym Test", for one. "Sousa Ate
Twinkies" is another. "Surfers Are Tan." "Squirrels Achieve
Tranquility." "Should Aardvarks Tapdance?" The list goes on
So, here's the thing with The Perfect Score (because really,
that's why you're reading this): for what it is (just another teen
movie), it's actually rather good. It isn't as dumbed-down as most
teen movies are; the characters are all well developed and substantial.
They don't rely on stereotypes too much, and when they do, they make
efforts to bend them in realistic ways. Even the pot-smoking
slacker character (a staple for any teen movie, it seems) is portrayed
in a way that's fairly rich. We learn why he smokes pot (like, to
In fact, that character steals the movie. He's responsible for
almost all of the laughs in the film, and he does an excellent job.
One of the best slacker performances of all time! Really. No
kidding. It'll make you want to cut class and drop out of school.
Leonardo Lam will definitely be getting more work after this film.
The movie is much better than you'd probably expect; it's got a slick
sense of style. The music is straight out of a recent Hollywood
blockbuster that featured an all-star mega-cast pulling a heist in
Vegas: in fact, this film could easily have been sub-titled Ocean's
Eleventh Grade. See, they take the test in the 11th grade.
Isn't that clever? The Masked Reviewer would have gotten a 1600 on
the S.A.T. if clever plays on words were part of the test.
If you like movies about cheating, like
Cheats or the made-for-TV Jeff Daniels vehicle
Cheaters, then The Perfect Score will hold a deep
interest for you. However, you won't find any valuable tips on how
to get a better score on the S.A.T., so if that's what you're hoping
for, spend the 97 minutes studying instead. It's actually more of
a heist film, and it does that pretty well. It also avoids the
really sappy morality stuff; although there are plenty of instances of
people doing "the right thing" in the film, they "keep it real" (as the
kids say) and it seems believable and good, rather than goopy.
There is no nudity.
The film will also appeal to people who have some strange fascination
with the test; if you bombed on the test twenty years ago and you want
to live out your fantasy of how your life may have played out if you had
only scored a few hundred points higher on the S.A.T., you might enjoy
The Perfect Score. It's a teen movie that isn't spectacular
enough to get a good rating, but it's above average, if you like that
kind of thing. No violence, either. A bit of violence and
some nudity, and it could've gone from okay to good.
Expectation from the Title: When Bobby parked at Riley's
Lookout with Mary Sue, he never dreamed that things could go so well.
The buttons of her blouse came undone with the gentlest touch; her bra
unlatched with a single motion; the whole evening went without a hitch.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
It's good to see that the kids pulled together as a team, even though
cheating is wrong.
The Pros: Some good performances, very well written
characters, a few good laughs. Interesting plot and more or less
The Cons: No nudity. It's a teen movie.