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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Perfect (1985)

"What's wrong with wanting to be the best you can be? What's wrong with wanting to be perfect? What's wrong with wanting to be loved?"
- Jessie (Jamie Lee Curtis)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: March 20, 2003

Stars: John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis
Other Stars: Marilu Henner, Jann Wenner, Loraine Newman
Director: James Bridges

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexuality
Run Time: 01h:55m:32s
Release Date: June 25, 2002
UPC: 043396077362
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D D-DC+ D

DVD Review

Perfect is one of the most preposterous plots I have come across in quite some time. It is a far-fetched idea, undoubtedly intended to capitalize on the swell of fitness clubs in the 1980s, and the filmmakers actually take this so serious. Made in 1985, Perfect likely had hopes of becoming a hard-hitting exposé aimed at the meat factory atmosphere that aerobics clubs hid from its members. But today, it seems campy and overwrought, despite very charismatic performances from its lead stars.

When Rolling Stone journalist Adam Lawrence (Travolta) goes searching for the story that will make his career, he finds it in the unlikeliest of places: a fitness center named The Sports Connection. Using his charm (of which he is certain he has an abundance), Adam works his way into the life of nearly every stock character that the club has to offer. First there is Sally (Henner), who uses aerobics as a way to craft the world's most perfect body, in the hopes that it will bring along Mr. Right. Linda (Newman) is dubbed "the most used piece of equipment at the gym," which isn't intended as an insult, though you wouldn't know it by watching this film. And finally there is Jessie (Curtis), an aerobics instructor with a cult-like following. When Adam approaches her for the story, she is standoffish—apparently a journalist ruined her chances of making the Olympic swimming team, and she's gun shy about all reporters. But after a while she relents, and grants Adam an interview, as well as a few other things. What follows is a series of scenes about doing the right thing, whether or not Adam should publish the story, and whether you can trust your boss.

For those rolling their eyes in disbelief right now, it's worth noting that Perfect is loosely based on the real life experiences of Rolling Stone journalist Aaron Latham. I would imagine that beyond the similarities in the overall aspect of the plot, the subsequent scenarios that play out are simply fictionalized garbage. From the moment that Adam and Jessie meet there is a nice sense of energy between them; credit goes largely to Travolta and Curtis for wisely playing up the sexual tension, which is underdeveloped in the script. But the scene in which everything crashes down has to be coming sooner or later. And it does, and then it does again, and again, and so forth.

The overall message (and trust me, you might need a miner's helmet to find it) is about standing your ground, and about a journalist's commitment on the one hand, to report the truth, and on the other, to loyalty. But the movie suggests that by doing one's job, you destroy others in the process. It is easy for the writers to create contrivances where Jessie and Adam must fight in order to make up, but at the expense of ruining the good name of journalists and their publications, it seems a bit tarnished and cheap.

In the end, Perfect exists largely as a chance for its viewers to see Travolta dance and Curtis in aerobics clothes, and on those fronts, the film is successful. But often it takes itself too seriously for its own good and while the message may be lessened by time, I would not imagine that the script played any better in 1985 than it does today.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Presented in a full-frame transfer, Perfect looks less than, um, perfect. Sharpness and detail are each severely poor with black levels looking grainy and dull, and with no real depth. The print used yields a bevy of flaws, while the colors look muted and have been worn with time. It is obvious, given the full-frame transfer, that this is likely a direct port of the laserdisc or even the VHS edition. VHS may be more likely, as it really is that bad.

Image Transfer Grade: D

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Surround track is all that is offered, and for what it is worth, it is not as bad as the video, though that isn't saying much. Dialogue sounds as though it was mixed at a very low level, while the remaining speakers are all but silent throughout. A below-average mix, to be certain.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 22 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Blind Date
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Trailers for Perfect and Blind Date are offered in full-frame transfers with Dolby Surround.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

The packaging for Perfect states that the film has "many pleasures." If by pleasures they mean guilty ones, then yeah, I might go along with that.

 


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