by: James Foley
Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi, Gary Dourdan
Released by: Sony Pictures
Short: A boring by-the-numbers thriller
that cannot be saved by Halle Berry’s
gorgeous physical presence.
Award winner Halle Berry’s latest vehicle
is called “Perfect Stranger,” and in some
ways it is perfect. In the way she looks, for example.
The 40-year-old beauty is as stunning as ever, especially
when she’s draped in skimpy outfits that certainly
show off her physical assets in all their cinematic splendor.
In fact, the whole look of the film is terrific – sleek,
sophisticated, and making New York City seem like one
of the most gorgeous and glamorous places possible.
as we all know, looks do not a great movie make, and
that fact is painfully true with “Perfect Stranger.” Berry
plays Rowena Price, a hard-charging tabloid newspaper
reporter (which immediately makes the incredible Manhattan
apartment she lives in completely unbelievable, as her
character does not have a trust fund) whose childhood
friend is murdered. In an effort to gather evidence against
Harrison Hill, a high-powered, womanizing advertising
mogul who is quite effectively played by Bruce Willis,
she goes undercover into his office, gets romantically
involved with him, and puts her life on the line to prove
The plot twists and turns, as Rowena and her weird computer-genius
assistant (Giovanni Ribisi, in a typically twisted performance)
move toward the final outcome, but therein lies the problem
with the film. The plot is definitely convoluted, with
MacGuffins turning up right and left, but essentially
it just plods along, so slowly developing that the tension
that should be building in every frame is virtually nonexistent.
Do we really care if Hill is the murderer? Not for a
moment. How about if one of the other characters actually
did the dastardly deed? Nope. Are we looking at our watch
to see how much longer this thing will go on? Repeatedly
during the second hour.
film redeems itself to a certain extent in the final
frames, with a slightly shocking and interest-reviving
finale, but overall it is a slow-paced, by-the-numbers
thriller that serves more as a product-placement extravaganza
and a vanity piece for Berry than it does as a film to
be watched and remembered. And one thing is certain.
None of the participants will be clutching a little gold
statue for this flick come Oscar time next year.