By Simone Dixon
The Perfect Match is a modern romantic comedy film directed by Billie Woodruff. Woodruff is famous for some of his other works like Honey and Beauty Shop. The purpose of this movie is to deliver a message to the audience about karma and love. It stars Terrence Jenkins (Charlie), Cassie Ventura (Eva), and Paula Patton (Sherry), just to name a few.
Terrence Jenkins plays a cocky ladies’ man, by the name of Charlie. Charlie is convinced that love and relationships are dead. Charlie’s circle of friends and clique is the epitome of love and functioning by the basis of monogamy. Charlie’s sister Sherry is a therapist and tries to convince him that he should change his ways and not act so harsh towards women. While Charlie is at dinner with his friends, he says “As soon as I have sex with them all of my interest magically disappears”. He says this because he enjoys one night stands, meeting new women and not being “tied down” to a committed relationship. In addition, he uses his career as a talent scout for Rappers, Instagram models, and Vine stars as an excuse to mingle with new women.
Charlie’s best friends propose a bet to him to try to commit to a relationship for one month until his childhood friends, Ginger and Victor get married. They are sure that if he commits to one woman, he’s bound to fall in love for sure. Charlie accepts the seemingly easy challenge. It is also in agreement that if Charlie loses, he must deliver the best man speech at Victor and Ginger’s wedding, the job no one wants. Everything works as planned until he is swept off his feet by Eva; wanting more than just one night stands and wild sex in public places. As the movie progresses, the plot thickens and Eva calls off her and Charlie’s fling. After being “played” Charlie falls into alcoholism. He even goes into deep depression, reminiscing on the death of his parents when he was younger. Eva made a man who thought love didn’t exist, appreciate everything around him. Why was it okay for him to hurt women all along but when it’s done to him; he’s so distraught?
Now, I will say that the advertising and trailers for this movie was a little bit skewed and misleading. Giving this film the title The Perfect Match and in correlation to seeing Cassie and Terrence Jenkins dive into romantic encounters, it gives the impression that the focus of the movie will be them and the evolution of their relationship. However, the audience sees more about the wedding plans of Victor and Ginger. The Perfect Match should also be given credit for not ending in the most cliché way possible, and actually tries to do something, at the very least, somewhat different and peculiar from the average romance comedy film.
When analyzing the editing aspect of the film, Michael Jablow did a fantastic job considering and realizing the aesthetic and dramatic effect of the juxtaposition of image as well as sound, making it soft yet sharp at the same time. The most popular transition throughout the film was the Fade-Out/Fade-In. This transition was used a lot to convey to the audience that Charlie was about to engage in sexual intercourse; panning out from the bedroom scene to sunlight the following morning. Another technique I noticed was fast motion shots. These shots were used when Charlie was reflecting back to the good times he had with Eva; showed in a sequence. Furthermore, these shots were also used when they showed Charlie out at the club and parties accompanied by his friends. In addition the Freeze Frame was incorporated into the film and used when Charlie would picture Eva’s face in his mind after they split apart. Jalow used this frame to display a dramatic scene but captivate the audience simultaneously. It jolts the audience to believe that Charlie’s life has stopped when he falls into alcoholism and all he can think about is Eva.
The film takes places in the state of California. The colors in this film are always bright or light shades of pink and red, creating a flirty, sexy, and peaceful vibe. The colors also represent the romantic feel to the movie. Color is not only seen but it is felt emotionally by the viewer and is subject to his or her personal interpretation. In addition, color is extremely important because it allows the director to express whatever he wants. Also the color changes the atmosphere of the situation in a particular scene or sequence of shots. In some scenes the color is orange. I believe the color of orange is issued to give off the feeling of fiery passion between Charlie and Eva.
The cinematography in this film is about 8 out of 10. In The Perfect Match characters are framed in the shot facing the camera. There are very few moments where the characters are speaking having their back facing the camera. Many times Cinematographer, Tommy Maddow Upshaw uses the shot/reverse shot to continue this framing structure. This gives the character speaking more attention and focus as to what they are saying. This is especially important during the deeper focus shots, since the characters tend to be much further away from each other throughout the film. One example of this is during the shot in Hollywood, and Sherry came to visit Charlie and told him that he needs to find love before he turns bitter. As they converse, the camera utilizes shot/reverse shot as a means to keep a frontal position on whoever is talking, which helps focus the audience’s attention on that character. The only character exempt from this is the worker at the food truck they waiting for. He is generally kept with a side view of his head, and in the shadows whenever he talks to a character. The effect this has on the food truck worker is that it turns him into more of a neutral character, one who serves to develop and connect the plot, rather than actually being part of the story. It is not until the end where we see a much clearer image of his character, and even then it is only to aid in his conclusion of Charlie’s character, and the movie. Furthermore, the usage of pan ins and pan outs were demonstrated a lot in this film.
Moreover, lighting is essential to a film because it provides a direct interpretation of symbolism, character development and mood of Charlie. The role that light plays with Charlie is as important as a role played by Terrence Jenkins himself because it illustrates the interior emotions as well as his hidden insecurities between his ego and vulnerability. Throughout the entire film Charlie’s emotions seem to rollercoaster from high to low. It seems that at his most happiest moments in life are when he’s either interacting with Eva, his best friends, and his clients. It’s evident that whenever he’s with his friends or Eva, the lighting enhances by a couple of hues of silver and baby blue. This is in direct representation of his emotions itself.
Shifting the focus to the characters, the movie focuses on Charlie, who is a round character, but did so in a slow transition. In the beginning of the film, Charlie was always unapologetic about who he was, sleeping with different women, being cold hearted to women, and using his job as an excuse to be a playboy. When he meets Eva, he has a change of heart and allows himself to fall in love with her. He is completely a changed man because of the feelings he developed for Eva. When the audience watches to transition from boyhood to manhood; Charlie’s characteristic are being brought to the light, his sense of humor broadens, and his player qualifies are becoming characteristic of his past, creating self-awareness and taking responsibility for how he acted previously. I would consider Eva as a flat character. She stated from the beginning that she didn’t want any strings attached. She stuck to her plan and didn’t make any characteristically drastic changes.
Moving along, Music and sound effects in a film conveys an emotional impact to the viewer. This is often done by characterizing and trying to understand what contributes to the emotional effect of the rising action and climax of the film. The music selected for a given scene helps display the emotional content of that scene and creates a very different emotional effect and creates a mood just by the way sound and music are used. Indeed, an emotional shift can be created even when music is not used, for that choice as well contributes an emotional meaning; often times in correlation to a dramatic scene. I appreciate the fact that popular songs today weren’t used in the film. It’s refreshing that the music selection was amazing and I never heard the majority of the songs before, except for one song. In the film, the song ‘Player’ by Tinashe and Chris Brown is played in the film and it creates the ultimate sexy vibe and mood for chemistry between Charlie and Eva.
In my opinion, the film is a little predictable. The film does a great job by not ending every romance movie with the guy getting his love interest. The only negative thing I have to say is that I wish it was longer in duration. Also, there were many gaps leaving to viewer to ask what is happening. I came to the conclusion that possibly a sequel is on the way to cover the rest of the plot. The positive thing is that this film teaches you a valuable lesson on karma and love. It teaches the story that after treat people badly; sooner or later it will be done to you, without you expecting it (karma). One downfall of this movie is that it had aggressive profanity. To say something positive, I like how the writers of this film decided to tell the story of love through a male point of view, rather than the cliché female point of view. I would suggest that males watch this movie and maybe will gain a better understanding of why they should not play with a women’s heart. Overall the film did great job displaying the problems with love and relationships in modern society.