Reel Toronto: The Perfect Man
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Reel Toronto: The Perfect Man

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.
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This was a mistake.
See, when we were doing the last column, on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright mentioned how a scene at Casa Loma was based on an actual Hilary Duff film shoot there. So we thought, “Hey, we should look into that Hilary Duff movie!” Bad idea.


The Perfect Man is so woeful that people apparently don’t even care enough to correct its Wikipedia entry which has, for two months, described the plot thusly:

Single mother Jean (Heather Locklear) moves every time she gets her heart broken by a bear, much to the dismay of her teenage daughter, Holly (Hilary Duff). Holly devises a plan to invent a secret admirer for her mother, so she’ll be happy and stop moving. Holly overhears her friend Amy’s (Vanessa Lengies) uncle Ben (Chris Noth) ordering flowers for a woman, and decides to use his advice on women (which she acquires by telling him she needs help for a school project on romance).

You read that right—Heather Locklear apparently keeps getting her heart broken by a bear. The movie also takes place entirely in New York (especially in Brooklyn), which logically means they shot almost every frame here.
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The Duffster goes to school here, at Danforth Tech.
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The picturesque auditorium was also used for the finale of Billy Madison.
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Other high schools used for filming include Bathurst Heights and Madonna Catholic School.
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No, there aren’t any Shoppers Drug Marts in Brooklyn, but this one is on Bloor West.
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So is this flower shop, about a block away.
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This scene is probably the closest thing to entertainment in this movie: It’s Styx performing “Mr. Roboto” at Lee’s Palace.
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The main setting is this bakery, which seems to be the Tre Mari Cafe, out on the Corso Italia.
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That Carson guy from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (remember that show?) stretches his thespian muscles here. This scene is supposed to be (obviously, we guess) at a Jets game, but it was actually shot in the cozy confines of the Ricoh Coliseum. See, he’s gay and they’re not, which is why he has wine but the straight dudes have beer. Get it?! Funny movie, folks.
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You can’t have a movie like this without a hijinks-filled wedding at the end, and The Perfect Man does not disappoint…at least not in this one area. Hilary runs into the Liberty Grand, which is a bit odd, since its exterior is far more impressive than this shot shows. Hardly worth the trip if you ask us.
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The inside is also pretty nice, but the next shot shows her running down the hallway of Casa Loma (see!)…
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…and into the Conservatory, where the wedding is taking place.
Can we wrap up by going back to that Wikipedia entry? It notes that the film failed to live up to box office expectations, but we’re not really sure who had any expectations for this stinker.
This is a movie that landed a Razzie nomination (but, alas, no wins) and a stunningly low 5% on Rotten Tomatoes. (That’s even worse than the 7% garnered by Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which, coincidentally, also starred Ms. Duff.) There’s a lesson in there for Hilary Duff, and for us.

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