Berry plays Rowena Price, a driven New York Courier reporter (with a shady past, as the relentless flashbacks illustrate) out to find the identity of a childhood friend’s murderer. Tagging along to snag top suspect/ad executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis) is Giovanni Ribisi, who aids her in the investigation conducted almost solely through chatroom conversations with the could-be Hill-moniker “ADEX.”
Like most of its characters, James Foley’s Perfect Stranger doesn’t know what it wants to be: a statement on sexual advancements, a thriller sans thrills, or just a crummy movie. Regardless of what it strives for, it won’t get you thinking like Foley would like you to. I’m sure wondering if Halle Berry knows that her face and body is what keeps her in movies isn’t what he’s after.
A sign of sex appeal (ala Basic Instinct) could have made Perfect Stranger at least a guilty pleasure. Voyeuristically watching Berry slide on a pair of black-lace panties is nearly the only sexy sprinkle in the movie, which has the nerve to turn a Victoria’s Secret benefit (read: shameful advertisement) into a gag reel for Willis.
Not a single character is likable. Berry is bitchy, Willis is horny, Ribisi is sleazy, and some nosy co-worker is a know-it-all. These undercooked characters come courtesy of Todd Komarnick’s screenplay, which got greenlighted when its brakes should’ve been cut. The most criminal of moments comes in the revelation, with Ribisi assigned the duty of spewing forth the most expository dialogue of 2007.
Perfect Stranger will keep you guessing up until the final frame…as to how you lasted that long. I don’t want to give too much of the movie away (not that it has much to), but it’s worth noting there’s a twist so preposterous it voids the entirety of the movie, catching you by surprise solely on the numbing absurdity of it all.
Perfect Stranger is not fun, not smart, not sexy, and not worth sitting through even the trailer. Do yourself a favor—instead of seeing this movie, sign a petition to get the Bronson Pinchot sitcom Perfect Strangers on DVD. Mankind (or at least I) will thank you.