The DVD Journal | Quick Reviews: Perfect
[box cover]


You think Rolling Stone magazine is lame now? Try a couple of decades ago, when its editor-in-chief, Jann Wenner, decided to have an integral role in the movie Perfect. You'll be thoroughly convinced that Rolling Stone has been terrible for a good 30 years. Released in 1985, Perfect was based on articles published in Rolling Stone. Not a bad idea — after all Saturday Night Fever was adapted from a magazine article. But then the great Saturday Night Fever was about working-class Italian-American guys who did drugs and went disco dancing — an exciting, sexy subject. It wasn't about health clubs in L.A., a subject that's only rife for satire, not the earnest thought-provocation that Perfect strives for. Too bad we're laughing. John Travolta stars as Adam Lawrence, a hot-shot Rolling Stone writer based in New York City who's assigned to cover the burgeoning health and aerobics craze in Los Angeles. Venturing to the metropolis of tight abs and wheat grass (sorry, sprouts — it wasn't the '90s yet), Adam figures he'll stumble onto a bunch of airheads that will direct his story into the scathing piece he plans on writing. But when he meets Jesse (Jamie Lee Curtis in really good shape), the greatest aerobics instructor in the world (OK, she's not called that, but she's treated as such), he's thrown for a loop. This Emerson-spouting, physics-savvy babe wants nothing to do with his story, as she's been burned by the press before (we weren't aware aerobics instructors had such drama with the media). However, she does want to sleep with him, and after engaging in some cardiovascular coitus (ewwww...), Adam even agrees to join her class. Then, in perhaps one of the sickest, most bizarre movie moments in recent history, we watch, for what seems like hours, Adam perform an entire aerobics routine as if making love to Jesse — short-shorts, hip thrusts and all. And with a huge smile on his face. You have to wonder if the straight guys in the audience just threw up their hands and said "No f-ing way... I'm leaving." Sadly, even after Adam's enjoyment of the class, the two lovers fight when Jesse discovers him secretly tape-recording the absolutely fascinating recollections of her life. He's then stuck interviewing the rest of the health club denizens (including Marliu Henner, as slutty as always, and Laraine Newman), whom he writes as desperate people using the health-club scene as a pathetic replacement for the singles-bar circuit. He calls his piece "Looking for Mr. Goodbody." Shall we spoil the movie and tell you the outcome? Nah. Perfect is actually so bad that it's fun to watch. A repellent little time-capsule that was dated even when it came out (no wonder it bombed), it's a kick watching Travolta struggle over deadlines and argue with Wenner about how much time and space he needs. The closing-credit scene in which the film's stars (even Wenner) are shown working out whilst smiling is absolutely a must-see in terms of '80s sickness, particularly since one gets the feeling that the movie thinks we've just had the most magnificent time in our life. And really, no one's terrible here — especially considering the material they're given. But dear Lord, Perfect is just so... sweaty. Columbia TriStar presents a nice full-frame transfer (1:33:1) that's great for all the hot pink leotards and leg warmers. The audio comes in Dolby 2.0 Surround, likewise wonderful for Jamie Lee Curtis's continual put-down she lays on Travolta by calling him a "sphincter muscle" (Wayne and Garth, where are you?) Supplements include an array of subtitles and theatrical trailers for Perfect and Blake Edward's Blind Date. Keep-case.
—Kim Morgan

Back to Quick Reviews Index: [A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

Back to Main Page