“The Perfect Guy” is a romantic thriller starring Sanaa Lathan as Leah Vaughn, Morris Chestnut as her former boyfriend Dave King, and Michael Ealy as the titular perfect guy, Carter Duncan. It is not until about midway through the film that viewers learn that Carter is decidedly imperfect. Leah, however, is about as close to perfect as one can get portraying a high-profile lobbyist.
She boasts a client list that includes Senators and Committee Chairs frequently seeking her counsel. Her sleek office space and high-end home suggest she is financially well off. And she is working on the real-life proposition 37 campaign for the Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Lobbyists present the interests of businesses or groups of people to legislators. Organizations of all types—from large corporations to small civic groups—depend on lobbyists to promote their agenda. The type of organization, or client, lobbyists work for often affects the specific tasks that they do.”
As a communication function, lobbying closely resembles the work of public relations professionals. The similarities between the jobs have been noted among public relations professionals in the U.S. and the U.K.. Chief among their similarities: Lobbyists and public relations professionals view their occupational roles as a form of advocacy.
“The Perfect Guy” has more in common with the wives-with-knives bloc on Investigation Discovery than other films featuring lobbyists—the plots of “Miss Sloane” and “Thank you for Smoking” are (more) driven by the work of their central characters, for example—but it does add to the growing catalog of films featuring public relations characters.
Each of these films depict an immutable truth about the cutthroat world of lobbying: The advocacy war in DC is not fought on a level field.
—Cheryl Ann Lambert, Ph.D.