The Perfect Score



Not terrible, but this MTV teen movie falls flat.
  • Review Date: June 27, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The characters band together to steal a test. Potty humor, drug humor, a teen pregnancy is played for laughs.


Tense situations and peril.


Sexual references, pregnant teen.


Some strong and crude language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking, drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has some strong language and sexual references. Kids drink and smoke and use drugs, and there's a lot of drug humor. A teen pregnancy is also played for humor. The highly questionable morality of the basic premise is clumsily resolved.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

THE PERFECT SCORE is a Breakfast Club-like heist movie in which a diverse group of high school seniors, each with his or her own reasons, unite to steal the answers for the SATs. Each character has two characteristics, one superficial and one hidden. That gives us Kyle (Chris Evans), the generic leading man who needs to learn what his real priorities are; Francesca (Scarlett Johansson), the offbeat chick whose wisecracks mask her vulnerability; Anna (Erika Christensen), the straight-A princess who would like to be less perfect; Roy (Leonardo Nam), the stoner with unsuspected depth; Matty (Bryan Greenburg), the best friend to everyone who needs to be a better friend to himself; and Desmond, the star athlete who can't tell his mother that he wants to skip St. Johns College and turn pro (Darius Miles).

Is it any good?


The Perfect Score was produced by MTV, which may be why it feels more like a product created by a focus group than anything involving characters or story or a point of view. The characters even mention The Breakfast Club as slacker shorthand so that no one has to think too hard, screenwriters or audience.

The film is so slackly directed it might have been assembled by a focus group. Everything that someone thought might appeal to a teen audience is thrown into the mix. We get a little romance, a little angst, a little family pressure, a little (very little) low (very low) humor, a batch of MTV-friendly soundtrack tunes, and a lot of happily ever after. It's not a bad movie; it's just not a very good one.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how each of the kids defines his or her future happiness. What is most important to them? Are they following their own dreams or just responding to the dreams or behavior of their parents?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 30, 2004
DVD release date:June 29, 2004
Cast:Chris Evans, Erika Christensen, Scarlett Johansson
Director:Brian Robbins
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, sexual content and some drug references

This review of The Perfect Score was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written bynrd123 April 9, 2008

A Great Movie

Don't be scared off by the MTV label. This is a great movie and is not the normal MTV stuff. It is much more appropriate than most. The 14+ rating is perfect.
Teen, 15 years old Written byThehorrorflic April 9, 2008

Perfect plan but slips up

The movie was truly great though at certain points you really see that the funniest character in the movie does pot -- not good for anyone that doesn't know what drugs are. A few verbal references to sex, not an issue, you hardly notice. Be sure to watch the last ten minutes because that's when the message finaly comes in, believe it or not. The plan was impenetrable but then .. well I won't tell. Worth every single penny and will have you interested from begening to end. So I say about 12,13 would be good for a start.
Adult Written byMonera September 10, 2015

Not as Bad As One Thinks

The plot isn't as superficial as other teen movies (Or adult ones for that matter). Yes, there is a character involved with drugs and they are cheating and breaking into a building. However, thinking kids will literally follow that example is taking it too far. There are other subtleties in the movie that go deeper than the teen mischief aspect. For example, all of the characters want a better future but feel trapped. Matty feels worthless without his girlfriend, Anna feels too much pressure being such a high achiever, Desemond doesn't want to go to the school his mother insists on and Roy, the one who takes drugs has hidden intelligence behind his addiction. Also, Francesca feels neglected by her father who owns the building they broke into. Each character brings deep questions such as "Is it healthy for Matty to base his worth off his girlfriend?" "Should Anna confide her feelings about being pressured?" "Does Roy have intelligence in him his addiction hides?" for example. Also, in the end, they don't end up cheating and take the test on their own merit. The movie overall has insightful themes to think about.
What other families should know
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