The title NOBODY'S PERFECT might qualify as truth in movie advertising, since it certainly applies to the makers of this lame, misogynist cross-dressing farce. However, the aptness of the film's moniker goes beyond that. By taking its title from Joe E. Brown's famous fadeout line in SOME
LIKE IT HOT, this film makes you wish you were watching that Billy Wilder classic or just about anything else. Chad Lowe plays frisky college freshman Stephen Parker, who enrolls at one of those free-spirited California universities where the most prominent faculty member is the tennis coach, here
played by a hapless Vitas Gerulaitis. (Real-life former tennis star Gerulaitis is joined in the cast by an even more hapless Robert Vaughn, who mutters his way through an absolutely painful scene as the school gynecologist.) Stephen, seemingly majoring in tennis, has trouble concentrating on his
backhand because his attention is focused on the women's court and blonde, blue-eyed, well-endowed Shelly (Gail O'Grady). Stephen's inattention earns him the ire of his coach, who cuts Stephen from the tennis team, eliminating his easy access to Shelly. Enter Stephen's best buddy, the campus con
man, Andy (Patrick Breen), who suggests a "simple" solution, advising Stephen to create an alternate female identity ("Stephanie") and go out for the women's tennis team. Of course, Andy has an ulterior motive. With Stephen on the women's team as a ringer, Andy bets the ranch on them to win the
league championship. Needless to say, laboriously zany, wacky complications ensue, all of them easily predicted by the few viewers who don't slip deep into dreamland long before Stephen slips on his wig. Along with stumbling "her" way through the expected women's locker room scene (thereby pushing
the film's PG-13 envelope), Stephanie winds up as Shelly's roommate and doubles partner. The film takes a strangely somber turn when Stephanie gets some firsthand experience of the sort of pain and humiliation that women go through to make themselves attractive to men. The somberness deepens when
Shelly confides to Stephanie that her dates with her handsome boy friend are usually little more than date rapes.
The obvious intent here is to invest NOBODY'S PERFECT with a TOOTSIE-like sensitivity for the plight of women, seen, of course, through the eyes of a man. O'Grady does her best to give her character some genuine feeling. For that reason, the date-rape confession almost works, until you begin to
wonder why someone with her looks and supposed intelligence couldn't do better than endure weekend maulings by the campus goon. But by this point in the film, we have to assume her character is brain dead; after all, she still has not noticed that the girl she's been living with in extremely close
quarters for weeks is actually a guy.
Fully functioning brains were evidently in short supply throughout the production of this lower-than-lowbrow comedy. Tellingly, instead of suggesting that Shelly find herself a guy who will treat her like a human being, Stephanie advises her to find one who will kiss her all over her body. Later,
when Stephen's ruse is revealed to Shelly, he justifies it by saying that enduring the "degradation" of being a woman to be near her is proof of his love. To O'Grady's credit, she reacts to this soliloquy with the slack-jawed amazement it deserves. But she can't change a script that has her
falling for Stephen anyway. She also can't stop Stephen from masquerading as Stephanie one more time to win the tennis championship so Andy can collect on his bets. Neither, it seems, can the school adminstration, since the championship is played while Stephanie is under academic probation for
plagiarizing one of Stephen's term papers.
A patriotic American can't help but suspect an organized foreign conspiracy in a movie so deliberately subhuman as this. There are people in the credits with names like Lars, Claus, and Just, and the production company is something called Panorama Film International; however, an investigation
would not be worth the effort. NOBODY'S PERFECT finally isn't even bad enough to be seriously offensive, though it is plenty bad enough to be a good remedy for insomnia. (Profanity, adult situations, nudity.)
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- Released: 1990
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: The title NOBODY'S PERFECT might qualify as truth in movie advertising, since it certainly applies to the makers of this lame, misogynist cross-dressing farce. However, the aptness of the film's moniker goes beyond that. By taking its title from Joe E. Bro… (more)