The Perfect Find, directed by Numa Perrier, explores the collision between a high-profile fashion career and a secret romance. Starring Gabrielle Union as Jenna Jones, a 40-year-old fashion editor, the film follows her journey after facing a series of setbacks in her professional and personal life. When Jenna lands a job at Darzine, a fashion magazine run by her former rival Darcy Hill (Gina Torres), she finds herself attracted to Eric (Keith Powers), the videographer for the magazine and Darcy’s son. This sets the stage for the classic rom-com dilemma: Will Jenna have to choose between her successful career and her blossoming love life, or can she find a way to have both?
While The Perfect Find adheres to the familiar career versus relationship trope found in romantic comedies, it adds some unique elements, such as the age difference between Jenna and Eric, as well as their complex connection to Darcy. Jenna’s desire to keep their relationship a secret is understandable, considering the circumstances. Eric, on the other hand, begins to question the need for secrecy.
Amidst their clandestine romance, Jenna and Eric collaborate on a video project for Darzine, aiming to boost the magazine’s subscription numbers. The project, titled “The Perfect Find,” features Jenna recreating iconic Old Hollywood looks using modern designers. However, the film doesn’t delve deeply into the specifics of their joint venture, opting instead for quick montages of their video shoots.
It’s a missed opportunity, as Jenna’s passion for her work is a compelling aspect of the film, and her creative partnership with Eric could have provided additional depth to their relationship. One poignant scene stands out, where the couple bonds over their shared admiration for Nina Mae McKinney, a trailblazing Black actor from Hollywood’s early days. This moment not only strengthens their connection but also pays tribute to an often overlooked Black film star through archival footage from her movies.
Gabrielle Union and Keith Powers exhibit strong chemistry, particularly in the emotionally charged scenes where they tackle more dramatic material, such as Eric opening up about his deceased father. Their initial encounter, a chance meeting at a party that sparks instant attraction, creates a whirlwind romance all on its own. However, certain aspects of their relationship leave much to be desired.
Overall, The Perfect Find offers a serviceable romantic comedy experience with its fair share of highlights. While it may not break new ground in the genre, the film benefits from the chemistry between its leads and Jenna’s passion for her work, even if the exploration of their joint project remains somewhat superficial.
For starters, when Jenna and Eric reconnect at work, their claims that their first meeting meant nothing lead to snide comment after snide comment, often about their age difference. She claims his generation is spoiled, he calls her bitter. It’s all a little too mean-spirited to suggest romantic banter, and any dialogue that’s meant to crackle with unresolved sexual tension instead falls flat.
Speaking of falling flat, let’s talk about The Perfect Find’s steamier sequences. Jenna and Eric’s make-out sessions go all out, with some allusions to further intimacy and sexy, open dialogue between the two. But every time, without fail, The Perfect Find fades to black (accompanied by one of the film’s many needle drops). I’m not saying we need to see a full-fledged sex scene every time characters hook up, but there are many ways to move on from a sex scene or even show characters’ pleasure in a way that’s not too explicit. A fade-out in this case is a cinematic cop-out, and to see it used over and over again in The Perfect Find — which certainly isn’t afraid to get raunchy, dialogue-wise — is disappointing.
While The Perfect Find occasionally struggles with its central relationship, it won’t let you down with its supporting characters. Torres steals damn near every scene she’s in as Darcy, waltzing through the Darzine offices in high fashion looks like a 2023 Miranda Priestley. The film’s final act brings out her softer side in a nice touch of versatility, but it is such a pleasure to watch her in full girl-boss mode. Erica and Lina Green round out Darcy’s posse as her two similarly dressed assistants, adding to her near-mythic status in the fashion world.