PerfectReviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 11/08/02 16:56:04
Once there was a writer/director/producer called James Bridges. He’d made quite a career for himself with such films as The China Syndrome, The Paper Chase and Urban Cowboy to his credit. Then he read an article in Rolling Stone about health clubs and decided he had to make a movie about it. Then he made that movie. Then nobody came. James Bridges doesn’t write, direct or produce anymore.When you’re thinking of Perfect, the first and last big budget aerobics movie, never has a title been so far from the truth. Here’s the thing – aerobics is hardly the stuff of classic movies, so Bridges and Rolling Stone writer Aaron Latham got together to try to give this turkey more meaning and infused as much first-year college mumbo-jumbo chatter as they could in order to make their film seem important. They hold nothing back, comparing aerobics to the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, discussing philosophy, basically yammering on about anything that will fill the space between John Travolta’s last grin and the next shot of a gym-junkie spreading her lycra-clad legs in a Nautilus machine.
So Travolta is a Rolling Stone reporter who is busting some big news exclusive about a white-collar guy accused of dealing drugs. While he guns for the prized interview with the accused, he sniffs around an LA gym called The Sports Connection (or the Sports Erection, depending on who you’re talking to), trying to come up with a story about how health clubs are becoming the new singles bars. Gee, tough story.
Meanwhile his editor Mark (played by Rolling Stone’s long time editor Jann Wenner) is giving him no end of crap for… well, just about anything he can come up with, and telling him that he needs his story by tomorrow. In fact, no matter when these two talk, this guy always needs a story by tomorrow. It’s like Rolling Stone went daily all of a sudden.
Meanwhile, as he chats up people in legwarmers and refuses to sleep with them all, the goddess of aerobics instructors, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, takes his immediate fancy. Here’s where things get really disgusting – Jamie Lee has a mullet.
But I digress…
Our Johnny wants an interview with the queen of one-two-whoo, but she ain’t buying into this whole interview thing. Of course, this means Revolta spends 24/7 trying to convince her that she should, to the point where any normal woman would have called the cops on the dude. “Leave me alone, you cleft-jawed freak!”
What’s most bizarre about this top-to-bottom bizarre movie is that Rolling Stone clearly thought it was a great idea to have their name all over the thing, but the movie makes them look like a pack of ruthless hacks. The editor of the mag, who is portrayed as the biggest hack of all, authorizes someone else to rewrite Revolta’s story, complete with character assassinations galore, and then put Revolta’s name on the byline.
Now, I know from first-hand accounts that writing for Rolling Stone is the single worst experience a freelance writer can endure, but if anyone pulled that crap with me I’d have them in front of a judge before they finished their morning coffee.
This film is essentially 115 minutes of people in bad 80’s gymwear, with a little boring storyline thrown in to try to convince us that we’re supposed to be looking at something other than panty hamsters. I haven’t seen this many moose knuckles outside of a Saskatchewan slaughterhouse. In fact, industry analysts have stated that, in 1984, between supplying the costumes for this film and Rosie O’Donnell’s buying a swimsuit, commodity prices of Lycra climbed seventy points. To this day, old timers in the Spandex industry look back upon 1984 and say, “Good times… Good times.”
John Travolta does not. In fact, Perfect was the bomb that broke the camel’s back and sent his career into a head-first spiral of Look Who’s Talking flicks and TV movies. It hurt him so badly that most thought he’d never recover. Sadly, he did, for a moment anyway, only to then give us Battlefield Earth and Lucky Numbers. Perhaps everything in Hollywood is cyclical after all, eh?
As the object of Johnny’s desire, Jamie Lee Curtis tries very hard to persuade us that her role is important. It isn’t, but kudos for at least convincing yourself, Jamie Lee. Marilu Henner chimes in with a nice little co-starring turn as a ditzy bimbo who cares more about increasing the size of her chest than life itself, and former SNL alum Laraine Newman turns up to play the local slag.
Full of self-important cameos that are nothing more than funny today (“Oh my God! Carly Simon just walked in!”) and probably weren’t real different back in the 80’s, Perfect is the result of people who believe they’re important making a movie that couldn’t be less so. It’s smug, it’s ridiculous, it’s far from funny except when it’s trying to be dramatic and in the final rinse it has as much relevance to the world as the legwarmer does.None whatso-fucking-ever.
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