Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

There are over six billion people on this planet.  Six Billion!  That’s a lot of freaking people.  So for me, or anyone for that matter to say that Halle Berry is the best looking woman on the planet is one hell of a bold statement, and considering that beauty is subjective, it is a statement that is certainly open to argument.  But, to even be included in an argument as open ended as this one, is still one heck of an accomplishment and a testament to the woman’s phenomenal beauty.  I’m talking from the tips of her toenails to the last strand of the frizz of her hair, even as she passes the age forty.  FORTY! She is still something to behold.  I’m sure there will come a time when men will discuss who’s the best looking this, and who’s the best looking that, and Halle Berry won’t be included in the discussion, but that day is not today folks.  Yes, I could probably write tomes on the levels of beauty that Ms. Berry possesses, but eventually I’m going to have to get around to talking about her latest film, ‘Perfect Stranger’, which made my head hurt.  Is Halle Berry so beautiful that merely the opportunity to gaze upon her presence makes this a worthwhile feature?  Well, no.  Hardly. 

When we first meet Rowena Price (Berry) we find her to be a hard driving, no-nonsense taking, tough question asking reporter putting the slap down on some alleged family first U.S. Senator with a serious kinky side.  She’s got the big scoop, but it would seem that powerful men know how to make their problems go away, and the story, to Rowena’s vitriolic anger, is squashed.  Stomping off with her head about to explode, Rowena is run down by an old childhood friend with whom she is apparently not to fond of who hands her another opportunity.  Grace (Nicky Aycox) looks like she’s been around the block a bit at least twelve times informs Rowena about her

online tryst, which had transformed itself into a full, blown out sex fest with one Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), the head of the biggest ad agency in New York City.  Grace is all bent out of shape that now Hill won’t see her anymore after repeatedly sampling her goods and wants to bring him down.  Rowena is skeptical at first, but when something really bad happens to Grace, she becomes a believer and is on the job to find out who perpetrated the deed.

By Rowena’s side during her search is her amorous computer guru sidekick Miles (Giovanni Ribisi), who’s one of those computer dudes that can do ANYTHING.  You need to hack into Dick Cheney’s bank account?  Miles can do it.  You need nude photos of Martha Stewart?  Miles can get them.  You need to be on the wait staff of Air Force One despite your Al-Kaida ties?  Miles can get you in.  So Miles gets Rowena a job at the Hill Ad agency as a temp so she can get close to the CEO and bring him to justice.  I know this is movie land and all, but if you get a temp walking into your office looking like Halle Berry and dressing the way the she dressed (highly inappropriate for a corporate setting I must say), I would personally be a little suspicious.  I mean Victoria’s Secret is one of this fictitious agencies accounts, and you have a temp in the secretary pool that’s hotter than ALL of your models.  Hey, just call me skeptical, but Harrison Hill on the other hand just pumped up his fist and yelled ‘Cool!’  Well, things start getting strange, and soon everybody, from Hill’s rich wife, to Rowena’s scurrilous ex-boyfriend is looking like they may be a suspect in this murder.  Not to mention the secret that Rowena is hiding from everyone as well.  It boils down to SHOCKING ENDING that is sure to make your head spin.  Or something.

One thing that ‘Perfect Stranger’ does well is photograph its star.  She is always lit perfectly with light softly cascading off her hair accentuating the copper tones of her skin.  Sure she may be a lowly reporter for some New York City rag, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the dopest downtown loft, and possesses loads of designer dresses that cling to every curve with precision and she also has hundred dollar pairs of bras and panties to the excess.  Without a doubt, cinematography and wardrobe were on their A-games in this one.  Another thing that ‘Perfect Stranger’ excelled at was being real stupid, particularly when we get to the last frames and the twist is introduced.  Obviously I’m not going to reveal what the twist is, but when it comes, you are forced to revisit everything that has happened previously, none of it holds up very well.   But even before you get to that point, everything that is happening before us is so implausibly unbelievable as to be inconceivable.  There’s nothing that rings true about ‘Perfect Stranger’s’ ridiculously fractured characters, the unbelievable situations that they shoehorn these characters in, and the trite dialog that spills from their mouths. 

‘Perfect Stranger’ isn’t so bad that it’s unwatchable though.  Hardly.  Director James Foley keeps the ludicrous and ridiculous humming along at a swift pace, though it could have been about twenty minutes shorter.  Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and Giovanni Ribisi are all very good actors who handle their roles with over the top gusto, almost to the point where I think they even knew how silly the script was and just decided to have fun with it.  There weren’t a lot of thrills to be had in this thriller though, and I always love how the twist at the end is explained by some character in exacting detail to the twistee.  Now it could be just me, but if I know you killed somebody, I’m not going to explain to you in precise detail how you killed somebody, and how I figured out how you killed somebody while we’re all alone at your crib.  Just call me paranoid.

It’s not like ‘Perfect Stranger’ is ‘Catwoman’ or anything, and it’s actually better than like ‘Gothika’ or something, but that don’t mean it’s good though.  Some people may be able to look past the silliness of it all and be blown away by the twist for all I know, and some people may find satisfaction in simply staring at the screen, in awe, of Ms. Berry’s absolute physical perfection.  All I want to see is a good movie with the added bonus of staring, in awe, at Halle Berry’s physical perfection.  Is that too much to ask?

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