“The Perfect Find” might be one of the most perfect rom-coms this year. Gabrielle Union (who also produces the film) leads the Netflix film, which shines thanks to an intelligent screenplay by Leigh Davenport (“Run the World”) adapted from the Tia Williams novel of the same name. “The Perfect Find” channels the fashion magazine’s classic 2000s storyline as the most glamorous workplace in the world, while also attempting to pay homage to the rich history of black cinema.
In the Numa Perrier-directed film, Union plays famed fashionista Jenna Jones, who returns to New York City a year after splitting from her mogul boyfriend of 10 years. Jenna lands a job as creative director of her former nemesis Darcy’s (Gina Torres) fashion subscription service. Despite the vagueness about what the company actually does, Jenna quickly excels in her role, thanks in part to her chemistry with videographer Eric (Keith Powers), whom she met briefly at a posh hotel before realizing he was a co-worker. … and that of Darcy son.
“The Perfect Find” has dashes from Uma Thuman-Meryl Streep’s two-handed “Prime” and “13 Going on 30,” with the reminder that Jenna is just 40 and, at least according to her ex, going through a crisis. middle age self-discovery on her own. Good thing Eric is there as a guiding light to Gen Z, not only for Jenna to find her base of work, but also to remind her of things like good, sensible men in the world.
Powers and Union’s chemistry and smooth back-and-forth dialogue ground this sweet rom-com, reminding viewers what was so funny about the genre’s heyday of the early 2000s. Jenna cries after kissing then-stranger Eric at the hotel bar, while her friends (played by Aisha Hinds and Alani “La La” Anthony) remind Jenna that they are her “vagina voices” to win back her mojo.
After realizing that Eric is, in fact, the son of Darcy and her new colleague, Jenna sarcastically quips that “there’s nothing wrong with black nepotism” despite Eric’s clear path to work at the media company of his mother. “Let’s do our job, not each other!” Jenna after coitus teases Eric. The film also packs in a slight enemies-to-lovers trope, as Eric and Jenna initially despise each other in the workplace due to their generational differences but also because both are headstrong, stubborn, and wildly attracted to each other in a tense office setting.
“The Perfect Find” also finds its muse in Jenna’s shelved aspirations to become a film historian, a passion she incorporates into the latest campaign for the fashion conglomerate. The film itself is a celebration of black fashion and cinema as a whole, with loving references to everything from Tyler Perry film clichés to an ode to the legacy of actress Nina Mae, who was considered the “Black Greta Garbo “.
Despite its many charms, the film fumbles a bit in its ending, leaning into another kind of cliché but ultimately finds grace in righting past wrongs for both characters. Director Perrier (“Jezebel,” “Unprisoned”) has directed a remarkable romantic comedy, enhanced by Union’s vision as both producer and star. The perfect find for those looking for a smart and sexy rom-com reprieve? Very close.
“The Perfect Find” begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, June 23.