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Film / The Perfect Man

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A lonely mother (Heather Locklear) begins receiving romantic e-mails from a secret admirer, unaware that this perfect man is really a creation of her daughter (Hilary Duff) who is trying to cheer her up.


The Perfect Man contains these tropes:

  • An Aesop: Don't run away from your problems when life gets bad.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Holly has one in her younger sister Zoe. Though they do get along quite well sometimes.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Adam to Holly over E-mail chat (really Jean in disguise, finding out what happened).
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • When Jean doesn't think she's good for the baking competition, her co-workers asks her a question that leads Jean to question her mysterious "Mr. Right".
  • The Atoner: After realizing what a bad parent and role model she's been, Jean starts unpacking their belongings and tries to stay in one place.
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  • The Big Damn Kiss: Adam plants one on Holly as an answer to why he was distracted during their plan.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Holly asks Adam to help her pose as "The Perfect Man, Ben" over the phone to break up with her mother Jean just to spare her of any heartache.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Part of what disrupts Holly's plan to get "Ben" to break up with her mom Jean is Adam being distracted by a picture of Holly and him professing his love for her.
  • Description Cut: During their conversation, Ben tells Holly that "The Perfect Man" isn't afraid to cry. We cut to Lenny crying at a Styx's concert, much to Jean's unease.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After a lifetime of being uprooted, not only has Jean decided to stay for once, much to Holly's joy. And for her choice, Jean and Adam decide to start a relationship, the latter of which may be a good match for her.
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  • Liar Revealed: At one point later in the movie, Holly has to come clean to her mother when Jean arranges to meet "Adam" in person. Jean is less than pleased to learn her daughter has built a false profile and lead her on to fall in love with a man who literally doesn't even know her.
  • Love Triangle: Holly/Adam/Jean.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jean realizes how her running away form problems affects her daughters and plans to resolve her errors.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Holly's attempts to fix her mom up with Mr. Right results in her straining her friendship with Adam, more heartache for her mother and Holly accidentally ruining someone's wedding.
  • Parental Neglect: Jean really doesn't take into consideration of her kids feelings or how her actions have negatively affected them.
  • Parents as People: Holly has no delusions about Jean, being accustomed to her uprooting their family every time her love life doesn't go well. Still, Holly later second-hand that she and Zoe mean the world to their mother. And Jean only gets better once she realizes the error of her ways.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Holly is accustomed to thinking of Jean as being a highly flawed mother with a bad habit of moving every time things don't work out with her latest boyfriend. Later, while speaking to her through her profile as Adam, she learns about her mother's past. She used to be an accomplished baker and would've gone on to bigger and better things. But she gave up that future when she got pregnant with her first child (Holly). Although she admits she wonders what might've been, she regrets nothing because she got to raise her two daughters. This moves Holly to tears. Although her tendency to move from place to place is still inexcusable, this puts Holly's view of their relationship in a new light.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Every time Jean suffers a nasty break-up (one way or another), she packs her stuff and moves herself and her kids to a new city.
    • Holly suffers this as she returns home in tears and begs her mom for them to relocate, due to a misunderstanding of a message by Adam.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Adam silences Holly with one as she is complaining to him about his screwup in last night's plan.
  • * Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jean Baker, as she puts it, "just needs to meet a good man!". Much to Holly's chagrin and embarrassment, prompting her to make up the perfect man for her mother.
  • Wham Line:
    • Adam to Holly: "By you. I was distracted by you".
    • Adam to Holly (actually Jean) online: "And you want to be more like your mom? (scoffs) Some role model".
  • Wham Shot: The "Princess Holly" comic Adam makes for her actually has another message on the side of it that Holly didn't see (at first).
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