May 26, 2020

“Perfect Stranger� lacks thrills

In “Perfect Stranger,� a gutsy New York journalist, Rowena, sets out to solve the murder of Grace, her childhood friend.

With the help of her computer expert friend, Miles, played by Giovanni Ribisi, she uses the anonymity of the Internet to search deeper into the mystery.

The movie starts out with Rowena (Halle Berry) writing a revealing and scandalous article about a congressman. When her boss suddenly decides not to print the story she has been working on for months, she quits her job. Then Rowena is called to identify the body of her friend Grace, played by Nicki Aycox, who was found murdered.

Before her murder, Grace had revealed to Rowena that she was having an affair with Harrison Hill, played by Bruce Willis. Grace had threatened to go to Hill’s wife if he didn’t return her calls and e-mails. Hill is a CEO for a large advertising company and one of the most powerful and respected men in New York. Convinced that Hill is responsible, Rowena sets out to link him to the murder, by any means necessary.

Rowena assumes a new identity and gets a job as a temp at Hill’s advertising agency. The deeper she digs, the more trouble she finds. Rowena investigates him from every angle, with multiple identities in real life and on the Internet. Rowena even goes out on a date with Hill, after nearly being caught installing spyware on his computer. Rowena’s close calls are the most interesting part of the movie. In one, her computer freezes, with Hill right on the other side of it, and she is nearly found out.

Rowena’s friend, Miles, helps her throughout the movie. Any problem she runs in to, he bails her out. But his friendship doesn’t come without a price, and his jealousy becomes more obvious as the movie goes on.

There are a few funny moments in the movie, which otherwise takes itself too seriously. If there was just a little more humor and a little less serious dialogue, it would be more watchable. Hill’s wife should also have had a more prominent role, as she was given very few lines of dialogue, and she was one of the main characters.

“Perfect Stranger� is a typical psychological thriller movie, with some sexy scenes of Halle Berry thrown in. There are a few plot twists, but nothing is really surprising about them. This is not an “edge-of-your-seat� thriller. More like a “needs-more-popcorn� mostly predictable caper with Halle Berry thrown in for some sex appeal. Probably better as a rental, because it’s good, but there are better movies out there.

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