Perfect Man, The

image for Perfect Man, The

Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Themes)

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Perfect Man, The
  • a review of Perfect Man, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 September 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Due to its themes, this movie is not recommended for children under the age of eight.
Children aged 8-13 Some mature children between the ages of 8-13 could see this film with parental guidance.
Children over the age of 13 Children over the age of thirteen will be able to see this film with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Perfect Man, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Holly Hamilton (Hilary Duff), a self-titled teenage gypsy, is tired of constantly packing up and moving each time her mother Jean (Heather Locklear) is jilted by some second rate man. The latest move takes them across the country to Brooklyn New York, where Holly, her Mum and little sister Zoe (Aria Wallace) must begin their lives again.

In the hopes of keeping her mother happy, Holly invents the perfect man. A man who always says and does the right thing and knows Jean better than she knows herself, a man far superior to Lenny (Mike O’Malley) the bakery manager who has fallen for Jean. With the help of her friends from school, Adam (Ben Feldman) and Amy (Vanessa Lengies) and with the unwitting assistance of Amy’s uncle Ben (Chris Noth) plots thicken and plans spiral out of Holly’s control until Holly finds she must face her mother and those that she has used along the way. When things get too complicated it is Holly that wants to pack up and start again.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains the occasional use of violence, including:

  • Jean gets upset with an old boyfriend and smashes a cake into his face.
  • Holly threatens Zoe by asking: “How would you like to have bruises all over your body?”
  • A bride punches her fiancée, knocking him down, during their wedding ceremony.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There are two scenes in the film with the potential to scare young children.

  • Jean and Lenny go to a rock concert where the performers are shown close-up on stage, playing loud, head-banging music. One performer is wearing a wild, freakishly distorted mask. The audience is going crazy, most are screaming, some are crying. The wild images, especially the mask, and the loud music could be alarming to some young viewers.
  • In an effort to keep her mother from seeing Uncle Ben, Holly triggers the overhead sprinkler system in Ben’s restaurant, sending screaming partons in a wild stampede towards the exit. Holly and her mother are separated and Jean is frantically calling her daughter, whom she cannot find. The intensity of the scene coupled with the fact that Jean cannot find her daughter could worry young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

There is nothing in this film that would frighten children over the age of eight.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There is nothing in this film that would frighten children over the age of thirteen

Product placement

Holly uses a Macintosh laptop frequently throughout the film. The laptop is instrumental in adding to her travelling gypsy homepage as well as in various plots to help her mother fall in love with the perfect man.

Sexual references

There are several sexual references made throughout the film, including:

  • An old boyfriend of Jean’s confesses to her that his relationship with two women on the side meant nothing to him and that at least he had gotten ‘it’ out of his system.
  • One of Jean’s co-workers sees Holly for the first time in years and says to her, while gesturing at her breasts: “Look at you, you’re all grown up! You’ve got your little speed bumps and everything.”
  • During a school meeting Jean suggests a mixers evening for single parents and announces that she really needs to meet a man (the sexual inference is clear).
  • Lenny says to a friend: “Do I got juice? Look at her all poofed up like a peacock.” This refers to his belief that Jean has dressed up to impress him based on his comments from the day before.
  • Zoe makes a comment that she wants “this egg to be my boyfriend.”
  • Lenny takes note of Jean’s tight outfit and says appreciatively: “Great outfit! Where’d you get that? From who’”
  • The bartender at Uncle Ben’s restaurant is gay and is constantly making gestures and remarks to various male patrons.
  • Jean’s internet name is Passionate Baker.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no sexual activity in the film, however there are several instances of scant clothing being worn, including:

  • Holly wears a low-cut, partially backless red dress twice
  • Adam does a cartoon sketch of Holly wearing a very feminine, super-hero type outfit that has blown open at the leg, revealing a lot of thigh.
  • At a bridal shower for one of Jean’s co-workers she is given a tiny pair of undergarments to which she replies “These aren’t going to cover anything.”

Use of substances

There is some use of alcohol, including:

  • There is a bar in Uncle Ben’s restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages.
  • To create a diversion, Amy offers free beer to the construction workers just outside the building, who then storm the restaurant chanting ‘Free Beer!”
  • Beer and wine are consumed at a ball game.

Coarse language

Though course language is not used in the film, there is a fair bit of name-calling, almost entirely aimed at Lenny who is repeatedly called a ‘loser’.

In a nutshell

The movie’s main message is that running away from your problems doesn’t solve anything, that sooner or later the same issues will come back to haunt you and that it is better to embrace life with all its ups and downs than to miss out by moving on. The film provides an opportunity for parents to discuss the dangers of seeking perfection in someone else, for no one is perfect, and that the only individual one has control over is oneself.