Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Perfect Fit: Movie Review

An Indonesian copy of mediocre American rom-coms.

Far from a perfect fit, A Perfect Fit threw in random elements of a typical romantic comedy whether or not they belonged in this story, and failed to elevate it beyond a mediocre rom-com. I was hoping an Indonesian-produced and shot film wouldn’t look so Americanized. The cultural aspects were minimized, broadening the appeal but lessening the uniqueness.   2021

Directed by: Hadrah Daeng Ratu

Screenplay by: Garin Nugroho

Starring: Nadya Arina, Refal Hady

The heroine is Saski (Nadya Arina) who is a fashion blogger. I’m not entirely sure if the filmmakers know what a fashion blogger does. We see her prepping models at a fashion show, coaching models on a video shoot, and organizing video shoots for photographers. We never see her write. I have a nagging suspicion that they picked fashion just as a theme and it would be fun not because it was important to the story they wanted to tell. The opening scene, at a fashion show, featured a flamboyantly gay character. He had one (supposedly funny) line and served no other purpose. That was the one gay character because American rom-coms always have one.

The best friend is Dra. She is – by far – the most interesting, most dynamic and best acted character in the entire movie, and she is relegated to sidekick. She has no other personality traits or importance to the movie other than being Saski’s best friend with an occasional one-liner. Oh and she can sing, but don’t expect that to be tied into the film for any additional plot point. She sings a beautiful song that without even knowing the language I really enjoyed, but better movies would tie it into the story.

Now let’s get to the meet-cute. Saski meets Rio (Rafal Hady) who is opening his own shoe store. She wanders into this magical shoe store (more on that adjective in a minute) where she finds the perfect shoe and it’s a perfect fit. She’s going to buy it and then she’s off to an important dinner at a club with her fiancée and his parents. Problem is Rio puts the wrong pair of shoes in the box, so she goes back, trips over a ladder balancing a paint tray in the doorway of his store. Covered in paint, she throws a hissy fit.

I don’t blame Saski for being pissed at being covered in paint because a store owner is a moron, but the hissy fit, which was entirely for comedy, was just poorly done. The comedy in this movie is very slapstick, and very lowest common denominator. I used to love romantic comedies, but alas, I greatly prefer the more mature ones, and this is not one of those.

The fiancée who Saski starts questioning her commitment to, is an asshole. An extreme asshole who throws violent hissy fits for much lesser grievances than Saski. Those are the three main characters: Rio – a store owner who opened the store before finishing painting it, sold the wrong shoes to the first customer, and then left a ladder precariously balancing a paint tray in the doorway – in other words, a moron. Saski’s fiancée – a violent, privileged egomaniac, who views Saski as his possession and starts loud arguments in public – in other words, an asshole. And Saski – a privileged prissy young woman choosing between an asshole and a moron; very annoying. As you can see, I wish Dra was more than the best friend, she’s very likable without even having a complete character to play.

This magical element. Early on, Dra and Saski meet a fortune teller to tell only Saski’s future (why can’t Dra get in on the fun?), the shoe store was implied to have been invisible to everyone but Saski but that was just something weird early on. The score is overly-filled with a mystical element to suggest there’s always something up. If this magical theme is part of the Indonesian culture, then OK, but I suspect it was just copied from mediocre American rom-coms who so often need to couch romance as magical.

I really loved the backdrop – Bali, the Indonesian city and countrysides. It’s a beautifully photographed film and it should have featured more of the culture and tell a more unique story. Instead A Perfect Fit is just everything they grabbed from typical American rom-coms.