Movie Review: Perfect Stranger

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Mystery Computer-Science Theater

Predictable twists, a slow narrative and about 20 minutes of interesting but end-loaded exposition ruin what might have been a unique film helmed by someone other than James Foley, director of Confidence and Glengarry Glen Ross.

Things start quickly when New York investigative reporter Rowena (Halle Berry) is confronted by childhood friend Grace, who describes her heated affair with the city's biggest advertising exec, Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis). He tried to end things, and she's threatening to expose him.

Soon this crazy blonde firecracker turns up dead, and serial adulterer Hill is believed the culprit. Dedicated Rowena—prone to cuss words and diatribes about the inherent evil of men in power—decides to follow the trail.

Of course.

With the help of computer whiz Miles (Giovanni Ribisi), she's hired at Hill's agency, wears numerous sexy business outfits and begins to court the suspect to find information.

Of course.

Making matters worse than numerous suspense cliches is absolutely horrible casting. Ribisi remains better as a lovable nerd, not a cocky one; Berry is perhaps the Hollywood actress least suited to play a hard-boiled journalist.

And, for nearly an hour, their detective techniques are confined to computer screens. Chat rooms, server logs, e-mail accounts—for much of the film, you're watching people type.

Not even the lovely Ms. Berry in her bathrobe can swing that.

Opens: Friday, April 13 Grade: C+