Question: Is The Perfect Score a) a teen caper about a group of high-schoolers attempting to steal the answers to their all-important SATs (Standard Aptitude Tests); b) a waste of talented young thesps such as Erika Christensen and Scarlett Johansson; c) clichéd, safe and predictable; or d) all of the above? Sadly, the answer is d). What could, and should, have been as fun and daring as skipping school turns out to be as dull as a two-hour detention.
At first there's hope, as we look forward to sparks flying between the movie's veritable Breakfast Club of characters. There's wannabe architect Kyle (Chris Evans) and his best friend Matty (Bryan Greenberg), strait-laced Anna (Erika Christensen), punkette Francesca (Scarlett Johansson), basketball hero Desmond (Darius Miles) and smirking stoner Roy (Leonardo Nam).
"HIGH CONCEPT, LOW AMBITION"
But when this disparate bunch bands together for a midnight raid on the exam-paper HQ, there's as little chemistry as there is suspense. Heist leaders Evans and Greenberg are so bland they're virtually indistinguishable, while Christensen and Johansson are embarrassingly over-qualified for this kind of high-concept, low-ambition fare. The standout is Lam, but only because his wacky(-baccy) antics are so in-your-face irritating. (And wouldn't cha know it, this underachieving clown turns out to be a computer whiz.)
Director Brian Robbins (Varsity Blues) leaves us with stock sentiments about being true to oneself but no memorable laughs, insights or thrills. Early swipes at the fairness of an education system that measures college elligibility via multiple-choice testing are washed away by the mind-numbing mundanity of the central scam. Robbins may think he's pitching a yoof-market Ocean's Eleven, but the result is flat cola rather than champagne fizz. Throughout the film, the kids riff on what SAT stands for: Sever All Ties, Sick And Twisted etc. How about: Snooze-worthy Adolescent Tosh?