Directed by Brian Robbins, starring Erika Christensen, Chris Evans, Bryan Greenberg, Scarlett Johansson, Darius Miles and Leonardo Nam.

Flimsy but fun, 'The Perfect Score' dives enthusiastically into adolescent America like so many teenage flicks before it. But in contrast to the rest of the posse, this is a very America-specific tale, poking fun at the country's student grading system. That storyline wouldn't hinder the film from being enjoyed anywhere else in the world. Other factors might, though.

Worth a giggle or two to teenagers, 'The Perfect Score' isn't captivating and lacks any depth that might help you engage with the characters or their tangled stories. But perhaps it's this very flimsiness that could well attract its target audience.

Kyle (Evans) has a problem. It's time to sit the SAT tests again and with his current average he has no chance of getting into college. His best friend Matty (Greenberg) is in the same boat. To get his place in university and be reunited with his sweetheart, he needs to achieve the impossible. Drastic measures are called for, maybe even cheating.

Deciding to hatch an all-cunning, top-secret plan is one thing. With Kyle's big mouth and Matty's big heart, executing it becomes trickier than expected. It's just the two of them, until Kyle tells class swot Anna (Christensen) whom he secretly fancies. That would be fine until Anna starts feeling sorry for the school's top basketball player Desmond (Miles), and confides in him. And Roy (Nam) isn't quite sure how he got involved in the whole thing. In the wrong place at the right time, it's a case of including Roy in the plan or risk him blowing their cover. And we should be very thankful that Roy was included - the film would be a lot worse off without actor Leonardo Nam's naturally comic demeanour.

The plan is to break into the Princeton Testing Centre and steal the answers to the SAT tests. But only one student can help them and Francesca (Johansson) is much too cool and self-absorbed to get mixed up in a mess like this. Lacking in the friends department, painfully deprived of self-esteem and trying to rebel against institutions like the education system, Francesca
is the perfect 'poor little rich kid'. And with Daddy owning the office block at the centre of the planned heist, she holds the key, quite literally.

A little on the clichéd side, it's a case of Francesca joining the gang to buy herself some friends and maybe teach her wayward father a thing or two. Fans of Scarlett Johansson will be surprised to see her in this role, in which, to her credit, she adds an air of mischief. But it's certainly a long way from her recent outings and, while fun, detracts from the praise she has duly earned of late.

Far from 'perfect', but not completely without merit.

Linda McGee