This hazy and unsatisfying college life thriller tries to be hip, cool and out there, but ends up feeling dull, deranged and more than a little pretentious. Jesse Bradford, a competent young actor who handles the silly script as best he can, plays Jack, a partying druggy who spends most of his time on the university campus stoned or on his back naked while a topless woman pleasures him. His long suffering posh English best friend Freddie, with whom he shares a room, regularly has to put up with his all night shagathons, but joins in with the drug abuse for good measure.
Jack and Freddie have a strange relationship. Occasionally they bicker like an old married couple; at times there are semi-homoerotic moments between the two. But there is a problem at the core of their friendship, one that so often causes a beautiful bromance to fall crashing to the ground: they love the same girl. But this isn’t a relationship drama, and director Josef Rusnak’s creative but ill-judged attempts to make something surreal out of the mundane pill-popping story are tedious to the extreme. Jack starts to have flashbacks to his childhood and talks to his mysterious counsellor (played rather puzzlingly by Steven Berkoff of all people) about his current identity crisis.
It’s very hard to describe Perfect Life without making it sound like a pointless and self-indulgent dud (which it is). It’s also hard to find anything nice to say about the bizarre and confusing turn the movie takes in its third act, which leads to a disturbing and almost Pinteresque conclusion that feels out of place and rather desperate. In some way, this is an admirable attempt to inject some life into a boring story, or to portray how crazy some people’s university lives can get. It is a shame, therefore, that the film opts to show the majority of students leading sordid lifestyles, making all peripheral characters as unlikable as the ones taking centre stage. This is weird, weird stuff, but some may find the hedonistic feel of the film attractive. I did not.
Perfect Life (2010), directed by Joseph Rusnak, is available on DVD from Centurion, certificate 18.