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The Perfect Score

Starring Scarlett Johanson, Erika Christensen, Darius Miles, Leonardo Nam, Bryan Greenberg, Kyle Labine, Matthew Lillard, Bill Mackenzie
Screenplay by Mark Schwahn and Marc Hyman & Jon Zack
Directed by Brian Robbins

IN SHORT: A Mission Impossible for idjits. [Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content and some drug references. 93 minutes]

So it seems, the Strategic Aptitude Test, bane of all high school students, is a racist and/or sexist and/or cultural and/or economically based tool of oppression that must be defeated by whatever means necessary. In plain English that means some true dead-enders who are just too busy to cram their craniums with hundreds of pages of useless information which will never fire their imaginations decide to steal the answers to the test, thus getting satisfaction.

Does Cranky now owe copyright credit to:

a) The Grateful Dead
b) The Rolling Stones
c) Devo
d) Eminem

The question above is culturally biased by the way; the answer might be b) though many will remember Devo's rendition of "Satisfaction" and mark c). We've changed enough of the line to avoid plagiarism charges and that's why questions like that don't appear on the SAT.

The Perfect Score is a story in which a desperate band of high school students who've botched their first attempt to beat the Scholastic Aptitude Test decide to steal the answers to the next test. It's a story that, we guess, may have some appeal to the 14-16 years old demographic, those facing the PSAT/SAT or ACT gauntlet of standardized college entrance examination tests.

It's do or die time for Kyle (Chris Evans) who must go to Cornell, where all the good architects are produced; Matty (Bryan Greenberg) must go to Maryland, 'cuz his girlfriend is there and he thinks she's messing around; #2 in the class Anna (Erika Christensen) who must get into Brown 'cuz her parents say so but she suffers from test anxiety and toileted her first try; basketball player Desmond (Darius Miles) is not good enough to go pro from high school. He needs a 900 to get into St. John's since that's the goal they've laid out for him; Francesca (Scarlett Johanson) joins the band 'cuz it would piss off her father and stoner Roy (Leonardo Nam), 281/281 in the class rank, is in because comic relief has to come from somewhere.

SAT answers are kept, and all the answers are processed, at the offices of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton NJ. Luckily, our band of intrepid idjits live within driving distance. Francesca's dad designed and works in the building the ETS calls home so there goes the problem of getting a key card to get past security. But when our happy band of idjits are literally handed the keys to the kingdom they're too dumb to know a shredder from a xerox machine -- all of this is in the television commercial. From here on out, not a word as to how (and/or if indeed) they try yet another theft. Neither will we tell you if some kids find morals or if some find love . . . The Perfect Score is a perfectly average movie that has no interest to anyone that has passed the test taking stage.

Those of us mercifully past that stage know that the tests are not economically or racially biased -- they're too damned hard all across the board! That's why kids make themselves miserable cramming all that useless stuff into underworked gray matter. When this story begins, the principals characters still have two weeks to cram and don't. No mercy from this old fart.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Perfect Score, he would have paid . . .


Rent. If you're of parenting age and are concerned about letting your 14 year old sit for this morally corrupting story, don't.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.