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‘The Perfect Find’ and the argument for more rom-coms
Audiences want more romantic comedies.
I spent the past two weeks on the ground at the Tribeca Festival seeing my fair share of films and documentaries. But one of my favorites of the festival—and Tribeca audiences’, too—was something of a serotonin-inducing surprise.
From director Numa Perrier, The Perfect Find, which had its world premiere last week and debuts on Netflix this Friday, is a throwback to the genre’s heyday and hits all of the rom-com benchmarks, each executed with aplomb.
Based on the 2016 novel by Tia Williams (who also wrote Seven Days in June), it’s got a great meet-cute between Jenna (Gabrielle Union), a 40-year-old who starts working for her rival Darcy’s (Gina Torres) magazine after her career and 10-year relationship implode, and Eric (Keith Powers), a much younger aspiring filmmaker fresh out of grad school. And there is a major wrench thrown their way: Jenna discovers that Eric is Darcy’s son, who’d flip if she ever found out, and they’re forced to work together on a new campaign to drive up subscribers for Darcy’s magazine.
It’s got chemistry for days, a great supporting cast, and is funny as hell, and not just with the many, many generational jokes that Jenna and Eric lob at each other (she’s an older millennial, while he’s closer to Gen Z). Softer moments are embedded as Jenna and Eric bond over their love for Hollywood’s silent era and classic Black cinema. As they offer exposition about the movies or classic stars they admire, clips of those movies play, giving viewers more movies to add to their watchlist (even if those movies aren’t on Netflix).
I caught The Perfect Find at a public screening last week, and the audience was on its wavelength. They laughed in all of the right places and were completely invested in the love story playing before our eyes. I’m a bit cooler on how it executed the ending, but it’s a minor complaint; it’s still worth the ride.
Pixar’s Elemental scratched that rom-com itch for me earlier in the festival, but The Perfect Find solidifies something: When done right, rom-coms are exactly the kind of movie that can get us as excited as a superhero’s grand entrance.
Why it matters
Audiences want more romantic comedies. Dave Bautista and Ben Barnes have publicly said they want to star in a romantic comedy, and after three seasons of sizzling chemistry on The Great, Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning said they want to star in a romantic comedy together.
I’ve been propping up rom-coms and romances whenever I can. When most summer tentpole movies are underperforming, and original adult movies like Asteroid City and Past Lives (both fantastic!) are doing well, why aren’t the studios listening?
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