Leah (Sanaa Lathan) is a woman who wants the perfect life, but quickly finds out theres no such thing as perfection. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Dave (Morris Chestnut), Leah is swept off her feet by a mesmerizing stranger, Carter (Michael Ealy), who seems to be all she's ever wanted. After introducing him to her parents and getting the seal of approval, Leah gets a glimpse of the darkness underneath Carter's charm as he beats an innocent stranger mercilessly in a gas station parking lot. Just as quickly as the romance started, it's over and the stalking begins.
Director David Rosenthal brings a most tepid thriller that lacks in tension or a cohesive story. Most of the characters not named Leah or Carter are mere set dressing that only come to life when spoken to, and simply to impart information for the next scene. The customary girlfriends that only meet to drink coffee and gossip about love life are straight out of central casting. One scene in particular only served to have one of the ladies drop the title of the movie as a bit of clumsy dialogue. The Perfect Guy follows the paint by numbers approach of an "if I can't have you, no one will" thriller, right down to a note saying those exact words left on her car in an empty parking garage. How many cliches can you fit into one scene?
Michael Ealy is a fine actor, but will never go down in anyone's book of most menacing villains. He is convincing as the charming stranger, but his attempt at threatening comes off as robotic at best, and pouty at worst. With so little time spent getting to know him as the guy we should like, his sudden transition feels almost comical at times, right down to him suddenly going from wearing white to black.
Lathan was a bit of a shining light throughout, working within the weak parameters of her character's situation as best she could. But in a "break no new ground" thriller, most of the supposed thrills are unearned.
The Perfect Guy ultimately feels like a run of the mill stalker film that is happy to go through familiar paces rather than build the slow tension that truly gets you to the edge of your seat.