Jean Hamilton (Heather Locklear) is a 30-something single mom with two daughters: Holly (Hilary Duff) and Zoe (Aria Wallace). They live in Wichita, but when another of Jean’s prospects for a husband ditches her, she packs up the girls and they head for Brooklyn, New York. This is always Jean’s pattern for dealing with disappointment, and Holly is getting tired of it.
Once in Brooklyn, an old friend of Jean’s gives her a job in a bakery. Holly begins classes at the local high school, determined not to bother making friends, when she meets Amy (Vanessa Lengies). They become friends right away and Holly confides her mother’s relationship problems to Amy.
Amy takes Holly to her uncle Ben’s (Chris Noth) restaurant for some ice cream and gets him to give them some advice on romance and relationships.
Soon, one of Jean’s co-workers, Lenny (Mike O’Malley) is attracted to her and asks her out. Lenny is a good soul, but … clumsy. When Jean accepts a date from him, Holly is horrified and begins an email relationship with Jean as a secret admirer named … Ben. A young man named Adam (Ben Feldman) is attracted to Holly and when she asks him to help her perpetrate the scam, he helps her out until things get very complicated.
The Perfect Man is not a perfect movie, but it is very wholesome. It’s filled with lessons about growing up, telling the truth, appropriate use of email, friendship, and all the other themes that you might expect from a nice film. No, it doesn’t end the way a romantic formula movie would have you expect, but it just might after the credits end.
Miss Duff really needs to take some time off from her fast-moving career and go to drama school. I was at a press junket for Raise Your Voice earlier this year and when she said she had just completed high school, I asked her if she planned on going to college. She replied that she would like to go to university, but didn’t know when. Now is probably a really good time.
The Perfect Man has some madcap moments and it is entertaining. I think it might also give some hope to single moms out there, and kids with single parents. Not that the perfect mate or parent will necessarily come along, but that people can learn to grow and accept themselves for the good persons they are first of all. Then they can live in confidence and let go of the anxiety that can keeps them running from the special people they already have in their lives.