Picture Perfect (1997)

Picture Perfect
Director: Glenn Gordon Caron
Writer: Arleen Sorkin, Paul Slansky, Glenn Gordon Caron
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jay Mohr, Kevin Bacon, Olympia Dukakis, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Dunn
Seen on: 02.10.2020

Kate (Jennifer Aniston) is a perpetual single, much to her mother’s (Olympa Dukakis) chagrin. And to be honest, Kate isn’t exactly happy about it either. She has had a crush on her coworker Sam (Kevin Bacon) since about forever, but he has always found her too nice. When she attends a friend’s wedding, she meets Nick (Jay Mohr) and since the two seem to be the only singles attending the wedding, an awkward photo is snapped of them. When Kate returns to the office, she learns that she could get a promotion – but her boss (Kevin Dunn) is unsure about her long-term perspective as she is entirely without obligations. One thing leads to another and Kate pretends that Nick is her boyfriend. This seems the perfect cover – until Nick actually shows up in her life.

Picture Perfect is one of those films I’m like 99% sure I have actually seen before, but it’s so long ago that I didn’t really remember anything about it. I probably liked it back then. Watching it now, I thought it was nice, a romcom perfectly suited to be a nice evening’s entertainment when you don’t want to think about anything much at all.

The film poster showing Kate (Jennifer Aniston) standing in the street with a yellow umbrella. It's raining, but just on her.

Picture Perfect has an absolutely contrived plot. Starting with the requirement for Kate to have a boyfriend or something for her career. I’m pretty sure that even in the 90s, her having a fiance would have immediately triggered a “she will be having kids in no time, we shouldn’t invest anything in her” reaction in her boss and would have barred her from a career just as much as “nothing is holding her here”. That’s because women can’t do it right, not really. But if you lean back and accept that there are many unlikely things happening here and that’s just the way it is, you can have a good time with the film.

Although there is one more thing you need to accept, too: Nick is basically the perfect guy. And I wouldn’t generally have a problem with that (there is a shortage of perfect guys in films, whereas women always have to meet impossibly high standards), it’s troubling because Kate is such a mess. That means that Nick constantly has a morally superior position in the film which imbalances the entire romantic dynamic.

Kate (Jennifer Aniston) cuddles up to Nick (Jay Mohr) while talking to Sam (Kevin Bacon).

That being said, Aniston and Mohr have nice chemistry and it was easy to root for them to tend up together. And Kevin Bacon manages to give Sam a sense of humanity that makes you understand why Kate would want to get with him, despite him being an ass and a bit of a sleaze.

I’m sure it helps that I do like fake dating as a trope, but I found Picture Perfect to be a sweet little film. Sure, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend thinking about it too hard, and it’s definitely not amazing, but it delivers nice romance for a lazy evening.

Kate (Jennifer Aniston) and Sam (Kevin Bacon) attend a sports game together.

Summarizing: Entertaining.

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