Perfect Stranger (2007) Review

Perfect Stranger (2007) Review 1
Perfect Stranger (2007) Review
Perfect Stranger (2007)
Director(s): James Foley
Actor(s): Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi
Running Time: 109 min
| April 13, 2007

Have you ever watched a movie so bad that you feel cheap and dumb for just having watched it? Well, go see Perfect Stranger and you’ll know what I’m talking about. What I’m trying to say is that there are pieces of crap and then there are pieces of crap; this, this couldn’t even qualify as a piece of crap it is so bad. All I have to say is that Perfect Stranger must have had a bang up script; it must have read like Sorkin on the printed page. But given the fact that this is from the writer of Taking Lives I somehow doubt it.

Halle Berry plays a reporter named Rowena who’s down on her luck after having a big story pulled out from under her. Her frenemie Grace (Nicki Aycox) approaches her with an equally juicy story: she’s been engaging in an affair with New York’s biggest ad exec Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis). What makes the affair so scandalous is that Hill is a married man who gets all his money from his exceedingly rich wife. Naturally, Grace turns up dead a little while later and naturally, Hill is Rowena’s prime suspect. So she goes undercover at Hill’s agency to catch him. And typically, as these things go, there’s more going on than meets the eye.

There is a twist ending and while I won’t spoil it for whatever reason I’m deciding to withhold it from you, I will say that it is more twisted than a twist. A kind of WTF moment that makes you scream out “Come on!”, Gob Bluth-style in the quiet dark of the theatre. It’s worth saying that it’s pretty obvious that the killer is not who you’re supposed to think it is, but who it turns out to be was definitely the stupidest of all possible options that the screenwriters and director could have gone with. The only thing satisfying in the way this movie ends is the fact that it means that the movie is over and you can leave. Sure, you could walk out any time before that and don’t think that I didn’t think about it, but once you’re past the hour mark you have to get the pay-off, even if it is in small bills.

Worse, this movie commits a cardinal sin when it comes to filmed entertainment: it bored me. It bored me to tears. The stuff that was supposed to be suspenseful was stupid and the stuff that was supposed to be provocative was lame. Halle Berry was unbelievable as a reporter, Willis was unbelievable as a philandering psycho, and the entire situation was just plain unbelievable. There was no one in this movie remotely worth caring about and the substance of the material is insulting to the intelligence of the viewer and the talents of the actors involved. The only thing that could even remotely by considered a saving grace was Clea Lewis, best known as the high talking Audrey from Ellen, playing the office gossip.

So thanks goes out to the filmmakers of Perfect Stranger for their contribution to the inevitable year-end “worst of” list, I can pretty much guarantee that it will rank on the high side of the top three unless more movies in the next eight months are going to be this utterly bad. Next time I see a title with the words “perfect stranger” in it, it better be about the wacky antics of lost cousins Larry Appleton and Balki Bartokomous.

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