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The Perfect Score

Brian Robbins' (Varsity Blues) latest teen saga is yet another culprit in the notorious January film drivel-fest. The movie is essentially The Breakfast Club for the 00's complete with a Jock, a Priss, a Non-Conformist, a Stoner, and a couple of Nice Guys. Only this time they are stealing the SAT's instead of serving detention.

When Kyle (Chris Evans) realizes that his 1040 won't be enough to land him into Cornell for architecture, he and his friend Matty (Bryan Greenberg) decide to steal the SAT answer key from the Princeton Testing Center. To pull off this caper the two assemble a team of six high school seniors, including Francesca (Scarlett Johansson), the hipster daughter of the CEO of Princeton Testing; Anna (Erika Christensen), a repressed overachiever; Desmond (Darius Miles), a basketball star being recruited by St. Johns; and Roy (Leonardo Nam), a burnout genius. The unlikely pairing of personalities evolves into a tight knit group of friends and, of course, spawns romances.

As he did with Varsity Blues, Robbins is trying to capture the frustration produced by the pressures put on high schoolers to succeed. The heist is the perfect way for these kids to get back at "The System" (whatever, exactly, that is). It would have actually been a pretty novel move if the team had stuck to their anti-establishment guns, all gotten 1600s, gone to Harvard, and celebrated over a beer. We could only be so lucky. Instead, the film reads as a listen-to-your-kids, be-yourself-while-still-conforming, do-the-right-thing infomercial.

That being said, The Perfect Score is pretty well executed for what it is. Scarlett Johansson, fresh off two critically acclaimed performances in Lost in Translation and Girl With the Pearl Earring, proves she doesn't need a great script to give a solid performance. And while he's no John Hughes, Robbins does appear to have a rapport with his young actors and a sincere investment in his adolescent subject matter.

Alas, a well-delivered piece of garbage is still a piece of garbage.

Stars: 1.5 out of 5

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