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If it wasn’t for the meme culture on the internet Perfect would have been long forgotten. The movie flopped upon release and it put John Travolta’s career on hold until Look Who’s Talking came along four years later. But there is a well known GIF of John Travolta doing aerobics. It’s not as popular as the confused Travolta GIF from Pulp Fiction, but you’ve probably seen it come by.

At first I thought the GIF was taken from Staying Alive. It wasn’t until I did a little digging that I found out it was from this movie. I had never heard of Perfect. I never came across it on TV, in stores or even on the internet. This is kind of surprising as the movie stars John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis.

John Travolta in Perfect

During the DVD boom of the early 00s every movie from the 80s and 90s containing someone who became famous later in life received a newly designed cover and ended up in the budget bin. Movies like Cutting Class and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation got such a treatment. But I can’t recall Perfect did.

Perfect is about Adam Lawrence: a reporter working on a story about a businessman arrested for drug crimes. He’s asked to work on an expose on how health clubs have replaced bars as the new singles scene. He focuses his attention on “The Sports Connection” a health club where he meets aerobics instructor Jessie (Jamie Lee Curtis). Having had a negative experience with reporters before, Jessie refuses to be part of his story, but does agree to go to lunch with him.

Jamie Lee Curtis in Perfect

They are attracted to each other, but he’s also using her to write a story. She’s constantly aware of this as he doesn’t do a good job of hiding it. A regular lunch between two people usually doesn’t involve a taperecorder on the table. Meanwhile the story has him go back and forth between the story about the health club and the businessman which doesn’t do the pacing of the movie any favors.

Released in 1985 Perfect seemingly tries to cash in on the success of Flashdance and the aerobics craze of the 80s. The movie features plenty of elongated scenes of people doing aerobics. Due to their length and sexually suggestive poses put on display these scenes often becomes hilarious. This includes the infamous GIF of Travolta thrusting his hips.

Anne De Salvo in PerfectSweaty women in tight leotards making sexually suggestive moves seems to be the main selling point of Perfect as it features plenty of them. It also seems to take place in a world where women don’t wear bras. Perfect is full of women whose nipples are clearly visible pointing through their shirts. Too bad that in order to convince people they were a serious movie, they had to put in the secondary plot of the businessman. Without it, this movie would have been way more fun.

Both Travolta and Curtis give straight and decent performances. Curtis really went out of her way with all of her aerobics scenes. She shows that there is a reason she was once dubbed “The Body”. Too bad she didn’t realize the exploitative nature of the movie, because she seems to be going for an academy award in her dramatic scenes.

Perfect could have been a guilty pleasure; a Showgirls of the 80s. But aside from the hilarious lengthy aerobics scenes Perfect has very little to offer. The movie might be called Perfect, but it is far from it.

Laraine Newman in Perfect
Did I mention this movie feels exploitative?

Perfect Poster
Perfect Poster
  • Year:
  • Director:
    • James Bridges
  • Cast:
    • John Travolta
    • Jamie Lee Curtis
    • David Paymer
  • Genres:
    Drama, Romance
  • Running time:


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