The new romantic dramedy starring Gabrielle Union, The Perfect Find, is now streaming, but should you give it a watch?
I’ve mentioned this quite a few times in previous reviews of this genre, but Netflix is in a rom-com DROUGHT. Though they are one of the few places to find these types of films after studios stopped releasing them to theaters almost exclusively, Netflix has fallen off in producing the quality rom-coms they routinely had 5 years ago. The Kissing Booth. Set It Up. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. The Perfect Date, Someone Great, and Always Be My Maybe. This was the peak time for rom-coms at Netflix.
Now, in 2023, the struggles continue. Your Place or Mine with Ashton Kutcher & Reese Witherspoon and A Tourist’s Guide To Love starring Rachael Leigh Cook failed to catch on with critics and Netflix users alike even with the attention-grabbing star power leading the way.
This weekend, fans of the genre will ante up once again for the latest Netflix original rom-com hoping for better results in the form of The Perfect Find starring Gabrielle Union (Bring It On, Bad Boys II), Keith Powers (The Tomorrow War, Straight Outta Compton), and Gina Torres (Suits, Firefly).
Based on the book of the same name by Tia Williams, the film centers around former fashion world staple Jenna Jones (Union), who returns to New York City after a year-long absence due to a messy public breakup and a high-profile firing. Knowing she’ll only get one chance to rebuild her reputation, Jenna swallows her pride and goes to work for cut-throat mogul Darcy (Torres). But her comeback attempt gets complicated when she falls for her charming, much younger coworker Eric (Powers) — who just so happens to be Darcy’s son. After putting everything on the line for her career, Jenna must decide if she’ll risk it all on a secret romance, and find out if she can have a future with Eric despite their generational divide.
Directed by Numa Perrier (Jezebel) from a screenplay by Leigh Davenport (Run The World), The Perfect Find has some of the traditional tropes of the genre – stressful, important job in a big city, bad breakup, complicated budding romance. Still, it doesn’t always feel like a member of the club. Its tone borders melodramatic at times and wraps up in a very odd place that seems almost ripped out of a soap opera twist. It’s neither cinematic, nor Lifetime TV movie, but somewhere in between almost switching quality from scene to scene.
To analyze its protagonist Jenna Jones and her launch into the story is a most frustrating and confusing exercise. We, as the audience, are given tiny fragments of Jenna’s previous life in the media clippings from the opening title sequence, but we never truly find out the details of her successful career, her messy breakup, and her high profile firing. Jenna will mention that she was made into a meme or people dragging her on the internet, but never say why. Her ex-boyfriend is made to be a jerk, but we don’t know what he did. She will say things like he “strung her along” for 10 years or she “wanted more”, but that is not messy; that is just life. As for her career before the fall, people will come up on the street and say “you’re you, right?” or something vague implying her high status, but nobody says anything specific about her work that lends any insight to why she was so successful. Heck, in a larger sense, she didn’t even want to be in fashion. Somehow she and Eric bond over early 20th-century cinema because she wanted to be a film historian when she was younger.
But the larger crime of the film and the character of Jenna Jones is the absence of a reason to root for her comeback in the first place. If we don’t know the details of what happened to her and we only follow her through a 90-minute exercise in self-sabotage, then what is the point of following her journey? She’s abrasive. She’s bitter. She’s withholding. The question isn’t why she can’t bounce back and regain her former glory; it’s why Eric would stick around until the end of the story to find out.
Overall, The Perfect Find is a baffling tale of unrelatable characters obstructing their own paths in life and love with very few reasons to support them in their struggles. The humor – crying over a dead peacock, doing a “Soul Train” dance line to The Jets “You Got It All”, jokes about lactose intolerance – is cringy and doesn’t match the rest of the movie. Solid performances from Gina Torres and Keith Powers get lost in the tangled mess of a screenplay from an unworthy story.
Watch The Perfect Find on Netflix If You Like
- Deliver Us From Eva
- Two Can Play That Game
- Love Jones
MVP of Netflix’s The Perfect Find
While the film may not be what you want, the soundtrack cannot be blamed. With everything from jazz legends (Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald) to R&B classics (“Weak” by SWV, “Good Kisser” by Usher, “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic), the songs from the film provided a better backdrop & tone than the script. They even toss in a Mariah Carey Christmas song for good measure.
PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP?
The only thing perfect about The Perfect Find is the soundtrack with Powers & Torres a close second. However, there is little to root for in Jenna Jones, her story, or the uneven, confusing execution from the creators. Netflix needs a good rom-com really bad and fast.