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The Perfect Man Reviews

This cream puff of a romantic comedy is sweet enough, but lack of substance makes it deeply unsatisfying. Single mother-of-two Jean Hamilton (Heather Locklear) is a baker who specializes in impossibly fancy desserts. The recipe for finding the perfect man eludes her, though, and every time an apparently promising relationship collapses, she cranks up the Patsy Cline heartbreak songs and packs up her daughters for a new "adventure." Teenaged Holly (Hilary Duff) copes with their nomadic lifestyle by avoiding close friendships and refusing to plan for the future. But after their most recent move — from Wichita to Brooklyn, where Jean somehow affords a stunning brownstone apartment on a deli worker's salary — Holly dares to hope that she and younger sister Zoe (Aria Wallace) might be able to set down some roots. The first step is making sure Jean doesn't fall into another doomed relationship — say, with her dorky, Styx-obsessed coworker, Lenny (Mike O'Malley) — so Holly invents a secret admirer named Ben to distract her with flowers and romantic missives. "Ben" is a fictional version of handsome restaurateur Ben Cooper (Chris Noth), the uncle of Holly's new best friend, Amy (Vanessa Lengies). The ruse actually works: Jean is too taken with Ben — who's conveniently out of the country — to bother with Lenny. And Holly may have even found her own perfect man — Adam (Ben Feldman), whose computer she's using to send Ben's e-mails — if she can commit rather than run away the way Jean always does. As self-centered women who have to stop focusing on their own concerns and learn to respect each other, Duff and Locklear are competent without standing out. Poor Wallace, an appealing child making her movie debut, has little to do but provide a happy-go-lucky contrast to Holly's bouts of sulkiness, and Noth is equally underused. Reduced to standing around embodying the film's idea of modern-day masculine perfection, he has only one scene with Locklear so it's impossible to judge whether they have a spark of chemistry. Supporting actors Caroline Rhea and Carson Kressley are outright annoying; Rhea's grating accent dominates her performance as one of Jean's coworkers, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star Kressley "plays" a waiter who's essentially a version of his real-life overexposed self. The only character with any real life is Amy; Lengies brightens up every scene she's in with her soft but convincing Brooklyn accent and attitude.