“The Perfect Score” is what would have landed “The Breakfast Club” kids in detention.
It involves six students instead of five, and they represent a more ethnically diverse cross-section of students. But their forced bonding — and the inevitable catharsis and enlightenment that result — are the same as in the 1985 John Hughes teen classic.
The “Score” kids have nothing in common when they band together to break into a testing center and steal the SAT, but one at a time they end up confronting long-standing dreams, fears and resentments. Some of them end up hesitantly making out with people they never would have even talked to before.
Director Brian Robbins — who’s familiar with this territory by now, having previously directed the surprisingly entertaining high-school football movie “Varsity Blues” — keeps things moving along at a decent clip.
It would be pretty standard stuff if not for the presence of Scarlett Johansson.
This year's 'it' girlA critical darling after co-starring last year in “Lost in Translation” and “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” both of which earned her Golden Globe nominations, Johansson would seem to have graduated from this kind of angst-ridden adolescent fare by now. (In truth, “The Perfect Score” originally was supposed to have come out a year ago.)
As punk rock girl Francesca — sort of the Ally Sheedy-misfit figure, if we’re going to continue the “Breakfast Club” analogy — she demonstrates the confidence and maturity that have become her trademarks.
She’s about the only thing worth watching besides Leonardo Nam — the Judd Nelson figure — a pothead named Roy who’s ranked 281st in a class of 281 students. Nam gets the best lines and has a look of constant mischief in his eyes that makes him totally unpredictable; picture an Asian Jack Black and you’ve got the idea.
Also in on the heist (but failing to make much of an impression) are overachieving Anna (Erika Christensen from “Traffic”), the prissy Molly Ringwald figure, and best friends Kyle (Chris Evans) and Matty (Bryan Greenberg). They’re both stressed out about getting into college, though neither is socially inept enough to fill Anthony Michael Hall’s shoes.
The most interesting casting choice is Darius Miles as basketball star Desmond (the Emilio Estevez figure), who’s torn between entering the NBA draft or taking the SAT and playing for St. John’s, which is heavily recruiting him. In reality, Miles did go pro right out of high school — he was the No. 3 overall pick in 2000 by the Los Angeles Clippers — and now plays for the Portland Trailblazers.
So he’s not exactly acting, but he doesn’t embarrass himself either. He may want to do his homework off-screen, though — he’s only averaging 9 points and 4.5 rebounds a game.