Every so often, two or more movies will exist at the same time while having the same premise. In this discussion, those two movies are Fear from 1996 and The Perfect Guy from 2015. Near two decades apart, yet both remain classics. Unfortunately though, history often proves that the prior version of the story is often superior to the latter, and this scenario is no different.
The movie Fear starring Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon has a talented roster of cast members that tell a compelling story. I have discussed Fear in the past and why I like the movie so much. In Fear, a teenage girl hooks up with a man who seems to be perfect. Great body, awesome car and a personality that her entire family can appreciate. Things like looks and status are things women look for and are attracted to. Mark Wahlberg plays David, who is still a teenager but is looking on up.
Things are similar in The Perfect Guy movie. The biggest differences though have to do with the ages of the people in the story. This is like the grown-up adult version of Fear. Which is ironic because TPG was rated PG-13, while Fear had an R rating. Although neither movie has any particularly graphic sexual content, Fear takes the cake with violent imagery and language. TPG stars Sanaa Lathan (Leah) and Michael Ealy (Carter). Neither one of these actors compellingly convince the audience about the seriousness of their feelings. As in Fear, the man Carter seems like, um, the perfect guy. He has a good job, Leah’s friends love him and there are no red flags at first. But he falls for her a little too fast.
So which movie is better? By far and wide, Fear beats The Perfect Guy across the board. I attribute this to one thing: plausibility. In both movies, the man seems perfect at first. He seems cool, but becomes oddly jealous when he sees his girlfriend near another man and beats him half to death. But where things go differently is how the woman responds to the situation. In Fear Nicole responds by breaking up with him and avoiding him. Although she initially rejects his persistence, David manages to explain to her that he wanted to protect her and cared about her well being, and he does not typically act in that way. Nicole then gets back together with David. Although we would all like to tell ourselves that we will always make the right decisions, sometimes we take a leap of faith. This is understandable, and makes Fear all the more believable.
The Perfect Guy, however, suspends this belief by Leah always doing the right thing and never making any mistakes. As soon as she saw Carter beating the fudge out of someone, she got a restraining order. Seems like the right decision, but would anybody realistically do this right away? Also, Leah gets a shotgun loaded with a few non-lethal shells at first, followed by live shells so she could claim his death as self defense. Like I said, a little too perfect and a little too unrealistic.
However The Perfect Guy does have some interesting differences. For one, the antagonist is an IT professional, and is able to break into computer security. This twist adds a new element into the mix. But in my opinion, this is not enough. The ending of Fear is much more dramatic and really does drive the movie’s title into your heart.
Which movie did you like better?