The Perfect Score

In this playful teen heist film, the prize is a few valuable sheets of paper that hold the key to six students' college aspirations. Though high school senior Kyle (Chris Evans) is an above-average student with a 3.7 GPA, his future depends on his performance on the standardized SAT exam. If aspiring architect Kyle wants to get into Cornell, needs to score...read more

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Reviewed by Angel Cohn
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In this playful teen heist film, the prize is a few valuable sheets of paper that hold the key to six students' college aspirations. Though high school senior Kyle (Chris Evans) is an above-average student with a 3.7 GPA, his future depends on his performance on the standardized SAT exam. If aspiring architect Kyle wants to get into Cornell, needs to score at least a 1430 out of a perfect 1600 on the "suck ass test," and he fell short the first time out. Kyle's underachieving best friend and partner in crime, Matty (Bryan Greenberg), has far less lofty goals: He just wants to do well enough to get into the college his long-distance girlfriend attends. With only two weeks left before the retest, they decide to break into the headquarters of the Educational Testing Service and take the answer key. Realizing they can't do it alone, they enlist the help of resident rebel Francesca (Scarlett Johanssen), whose father owns the building where the testing facility is located, and salutatorian Anna (Erika Christensen), who freaked out the first time she took the SAT and won't get into Brown if she doesn't dramatically improve her score. Sweet but unacademically inclined basketball player Desmond (Darius Miles) joins the group because he needs a 900 or better to clinch his scholarship to St. Johns, and stoned slacker Roy (Leonardo Nam) overhears conspirators and demands to be included, even though he's at the bottom of the class. With the help of Francesca's blueprints, the six teens devise a foolproof plan to invade the building and get the answers without anyone noticing. Though clearly aimed at the MTV demographic, this odd mix of THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985) and THE HOT ROCK (1972) has more on the ball than it might have, including some surprisingly witty dialogue and a vivid sense of the pressure high schoolers feel in the face of all-important standardized tests. Screenwriters Mark Schwahn, Marc Hyman and John Zack even manage to come up with a moral that chides a system that reduces students to statistics without condoning cheating. The characters are stereotypes — even talented actresses like Christensen and Johanssen can't inject much personality into their cookie-cutter characters — but director Brian Robbins (VARSITY BLUES) actually has a clear sense of the way 21st-century teenagers behave, and his sleek style keeps the film moving briskly.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: In this playful teen heist film, the prize is a few valuable sheets of paper that hold the key to six students' college aspirations. Though high school senior Kyle (Chris Evans) is an above-average student with a 3.7 GPA, his future depends on his performa… (more)

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