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Perfect Stranger: Least Thrilling Thriller Ever

For some reason, I'd hoped that Perfect Stranger would be better than the previews made it look. Unfortunately, the previews were as bad as they were because there are no quality scenes to draw from. The plot is this: When her friend Grace is mysteriously murdered, investigative reporter Rowena (Halle Berry) suspects that advertising mogul Harrison Hill may be involved, so she goes undercover as a temp at Hill's agency to gain information.

Hill, suspicious that his employees are "spies" from a competing agency, doesn't make it easy for Rowena to gather any dirt. Miles (Giovanni Rivisi), Rowena's underling at the newspaper, helps her with the investigation while nursing a most creepball crush on Rowena. As Rowena delves deeper into Hill's life, she discovers that everyone — including Miles and ultimately herself — has dirty little secrets.

The movie is supposed to be a thriller, but fails miserably at creating any sort of interesting suspense, largely because at no time is it clear why we are supposed to care about, well, anyone in the film. My thoughts on this movie would best be expressed in a list of absurdities, so

  1. This film had all the potential of being like "Alias," with a cool lady spy getting stuff done. There's even a vaguely feminist moment, when Rowena writes a story exposing a politician, but the article is killed because, as she angrily puts it, the world is just "powerful men protecting powerful men." Yet in the end, her valid gripes are dismissed as the ramblings of a woman off her rocker.
  2. In a story that is rather dependent upon the usage of technology (Rowena communicates with Hill via instant messenger in many, many scenes), one might think that the technology would at least be up-to-date. But no. Remember that part in Pretty in Pink when Andrew McCarthy's character sends Molly Ringwald's character a kind of IM on the library computer systems? The technology featured in Perfect Stranger is maybe one step up from that. Maybe.
  3. Even if I didn't have a fair amount of knowledge about the advertising world, I would suspect that the story line about "spies" from a competing agency reporting back to the competitors about Hill's plans to "steal" clients is silly. It reminds me of little kids making up the rules of a game, with no basis in reality.
  4. Hill is a high-powered executive with a lot to lose, yet he conveniently and carelessly forgets to close the curtains of his hotel room, which is low enough to the street to gaze into.
  5. I'm sorry, but who in Manhattan keeps their door key in an obvious "hiding" place (on top of the door jamb! under a mat!) outside their door? In this movie, both Miles and Rowena do.
  6. Bruce Willis and Halle Berry are good actors but are helpless to fix the outrageously lacking script. It seems that at some point they decided to put on brave faces and just get through it.
  7. Bottom line: With so many thrillers out right now, do not waste your time on this one.

    Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures

Join The Conversation
sweettink sweettink 10 years
look they have fun with each
Fancy04 Fancy04 10 years
I havent seen the movie. I dont think I will be seeing it.
KYJurisDoctor KYJurisDoctor 10 years
I just saw the movie and the ending saved it by giving it a C, otherwise it merited a GENEROUS D!
Pinkrabbit Pinkrabbit 10 years
I'm sorry but all I can say is... Could you expect more from a movie with Halle as the star? I mean there is Xmen which is good but she wasn't the main star and during the parts with Storm just blew hard! Halle isn't a good actress and picks horrible movies. Catgirl, Gothika, this movie... the list goes on. *shrugs* I just never liked the girl period.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 10 years
nancita, I couldn't agree with you more! As always, I found Buzz's review to be thoughtful, balanced and fair, especially after having just read another review that really panned the movie and criticized Bruce Willis for looking bored and lazy in his role. KH, what are your reasons for liking a movie that you haven't seen?
Mainly-Obsessed Mainly-Obsessed 10 years
I find this pretty upsetting. I reaaaaaally wanted Halle to do something good. I mean, it's been a while since she's turned out anything good. She reached her peak with her Oscar. Booyaka!
Maggie-Mae Maggie-Mae 10 years
Oh, yeah- this looked like a dud from the start. I want to like this movie cause Halle is in it, but even good actors & actresses can only do so much with a bad story line/script.
nancita nancita 10 years
Also, let's all remember that opinions about movies are ENTIRELY subjective. you are totally entitled to your opinion, KH, but at least go see the movie before you start attacking buzz!
colormesticky colormesticky 10 years
Um, yes they do. I'm not going to see a movie with such obviously stupid flaws. It looks like a total turkey.
kh61582 kh61582 10 years
I'm a huge Bruce Willis fan and I'm planning on seeing this movie tonight. I think that it's really stupid to dislike a movie simply because it's not realistic. It's a movie! It's not supposed to be realistic! The movie might suck for other reasons but your reasons for not liking it just don't hold up.
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
Boo. Too bad this stunk. I guess I will opt to see Disturbia instead.
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