Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1985
Directed by
James Bridges
125 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


OK, Perfect is 80s Hollywood at its wincingly awful but it’s not entirely without merit.  Nothing can be salvaged from the superficial  screenplay (based on a piece in Rolling Stone magazine by Aaron Latham) about a hip Rolling Stone journalist, Adam Lawrence (John Travolta) who is writing a piece on the Los Angeles gym scene with the premise that they have become the singles bars of the 80s. Cue lots of vacuous gym junkies with big hair, Spandex leotards, leg warmers and head bands, leaping around to synthesized music or milling about checking each other out. Yes, the only thing that Perfect lacks in the 80s naff-naff department is a cameo appearance by The Village People.

Jamie Lee Curtis must today hang her head in memory of her bootie-gyrating routines, extended sequences of which are duly inserted in the movie. She plays gym instructor Jesse, the focus, shall we say, of Adam’s journalistic endeavours and, of course, romantic intentions. While Jesse dedicates her efforts to burning away the world’s fat, Adam runs around simultaneously investigating the affairs of a wealthy businessman (a veiled reference to corporate bad-boy of the day John  De Lorean), writing a scathing piece on the fitness scene as a flesh market and all the while trying to win Jesse’s love. The characterisation  of Adam is equivocal in this respect. For a supposedly nice guy, the best that you can say of him is that he doesn’t  go about it very well. Real life editor and publisher of Rolling Stone, Jann Wenner plays Mark Roth, the editor of Rolling Stone in the movie.  

Although Perfect has the form of a behind-the scenes exposé it is far too busy trying to being glamorous to do anything so serious, or in other words it is entirely of a piece with the very scene it is depicting. It’s lack of critical distance earn it probably an undue amount of opprobrium for Travolta and  Curtis inhabit their characters with conviction (the latter’s workout routines are impressive) and tension of their rocky relationship is also effectively depicted. Yes there are some really awful moments (Travolta and Curtis’s pelvis-thrusting workout takes the cake in this respect), not enough to make it cult material but enough to make it worth preserving and on some levels, even enjoying, as an example of '80s misguidedness.  Not surprisingly' director Bridges’ once-promising career never recovered and he directed only one more film before succumbing to cancer in 1993.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst