If you loved watching Noah Centineo fall in love with a girl he’s pretending to date while outwardly pining for a mean girl he makes no sense with in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I’ve got good news for you: The Perfect Date just dropped on Netflix.
The Perfect Date might not sound like TATBILB on its face: Brooks Rattigan (Noah) creates a dating app where girls can pay him to be their stand-in date until he has enough money (and a good enough idea for a college essay) to get into Yale. But, like, it really, really is…just without the magic of miss Lana Condor.
Look, The Perfect Date is perfectly charming, and Noah Cenitneo would have chemistry with a rubber ball on a stick if he needed to. The movie even had some serious laughs from Celia (Laura Marano) like, “you think people actually go to a dance to dance? No, they do it to take photos for their Instagram. I’m pretty sure that’s why people have babies now, too.” It’s just that there are major plot details and very specific quirks that pair too closely with another Netflix rom-com. Here, all the ways, The Perfect Date is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, aside from Noah Centineo.
The whole fake boyfriend and girlfriend thing…
Okay, tell me what movie you think this is:
Boy and girl pretend to date so both can impress another boy and girl who are actually not right for them. Boy spends the entire time pining for a mean girl, despite being charmed by his quirky fake girlfriend. In the end the fake relationship becomes real (gasps).
Trick question! It’s both of them!
A combat boot fetish.
One of the first ways To All the Boys and The Perfect Date prove their leading lady is special, and not like other boring girls, is by pointing out that she wears combat boots! In TATB, mean girl Gen (Emilija Baranac)—who is also Peter Kavinsky’s (Noah) OG girlfriend—points them out to make fun of Lara Jean (Lana). It’s weird, because the boots are objectively very cool.
The Perfect Date obviously agrees! When we first meet Celia, she refuses to wear the heels her mom picked out for her school dance. Instead she comes down the stairs in a cute pink dress with a leather jacket and…COMBAT BOOTS. Brooks makes a helpful joke that heels are an outdated way to oppress women, and they’re off to a pretty good start.
Sad dad, alert!
Something Brooks Rattigan and Lara Jean have in common is a single father who’s a little sad, but full of wisdom. In TATB, Lara Jean’s mother died, while Brooks’ mom in TPD left them. Funny enough, Peter Kavinsky’s dad left his family for a new one as well.
Mean girl drama…
In both movies, the girl Brooks and Pete think they want is actually a total nightmare. This is also TATB‘s main weakness. Yes, Peter and Gen had history, but it makes no sense that this sweet guy who wants to drive you to school and buys your fave snacks for a long bus ride would ever go for someone who steals scrunchies and posts intimate moments to Instagram. The tension between Lara and Gen could have been so much more nuanced than that.
TPD fairs a bit better with Camila Mendes as Shelby Pace. Shelby is more fake and snide than outright horrible monster person. Her main flaw is that she’s supposedly shallow and condescending. However, I’m totally with her when she drops Brooks. After coming clean to Shelby about the fact that he’s not actually rich and about the dating app, she says, “You’re right, I am too good for you. But not because I have more money than you. It’s because I’m not a liar.” Go Shelby.
They share the same breakup lines.
When Peter and Lara Jean get in their infamous fight outside her house, she says, “I’m tired of being second best, or fake best.”
Celia tells Brooks off in a pretty similar fashion. After getting ditched by Shelby, he hits Celia up for a dance and she says no, despite her obvious feelings for him. When he asks her why, she responds, “’cause I’m not your backup.”
While Brooks didn’t come back with a line like that, I still felt serious deja vu.
One last, very weird thing…
Someone at Netflix is having serious cravings for sub-par (ha!) sandwiches. People joked a lot about TATB’s obvious Subway Sandwiches product placement, but how weird is it that Brooks’ part-time gig was also at a fast food sub shop?
It wasn’t even that small of a detail. Brooks best friend and coworker Murph (Odiseas Georgiadis) knows his crush’s sandwich order by heart! Brooks jokes about owning the sub shop one day! They throw a freakin’ fake prom for Celia at the sandwich place! I’m suddenly craving a six-inch tuna with chips and a diet coke.