A group of six high school students band together and develop a plan to heist the SAT exam in order to prevent the test from unfairly defining who they'll become. Each in the group has their own set of circumstances that leads them to one conclusion--the only way to truly decide their fate is to cheat the system. The unofficial leader of the group is Kyle, an aspiring architect who dreams of attending an Ivy League school, but repeatedly scores below what is required for acceptance. He develops the plan with his best friend Matty, whose low SAT scores result in a rejection from Maryland University, where his girlfriend attends. Anna, who desires to meet her parents' standard of excellence, but is badly in need of some excitement, joins in and brings Desmond into the fold. Desmond is the star basketball player, who at the urging of his mother, decides to forgo the NBA for college, and needs to pass the SAT to get in. Providing the access inside the local education testing headquarters is Francesca, an anti-establishment girl, who joins in the scheme for kicks. Completing the group is Roy, a loner who wants in on the action after accidentally overhearing the plan. Although the kids seemingly share nothing in common, they band together and while getting to know each other, discover themselves in the process.
A thin, pleasant teenage heist comedy in which six diverse New Jersey teenagers — an athlete, a stoner, a goody-two-shoes, etc — oppressed by standardized testing, conspire to break into the offices of the Educational Testing Service to steal the answers to the SAT. While the movie does raise some interesting questions about the fairness and utility of standards in determining the futures of young people, it undermines its defense of individuality by being so bland and generic. In the end, test or no test, everyone learns some valuable lessons. — A. O. Scott
2004-01-30 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of The Perfect Score