NEWS- No stranger's perfect: Halle Berry adds class to dud
Whatever happened to Bronson Pinchot?
A generic title like Perfect Stranger triggers free association and got me wondering about the star of TV's Perfect Strangers. Not being in this movie, he's one of the few people who aren't suspects in the mysterious death of Grace (Nicki Aycox), which is being vigorously investigated by investigative reporter Rowena Price (Halle Berry).
The movie's about the murder case and about creating false identities in Internet chat rooms and elsewhere. It's about marriage, romance, and affairs and about the cutthroat world of advertising.
But when you've forgotten all those details, you'll remember how good Halle Berry looks. That's what it's really about.
So why is Rowena still single, despite a healthy interest in sex and the ability to get any man she wants? Well, can't a movie have more than one mystery?
Ro is used to assuming false identities in pursuit of a story, and even publishes under a male name, "David Shane." In the opening scene, she pretends to be from "Family First" to bust a conservative senator (Karl Bury) for having an affair with his male intern while campaigning against gay rights.
Grace and Ro were childhood friends and neighbors. They meet in the subway, and Grace gives Ro a scoop: she had an affair with advertising big shot Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis) after an exchange of e-mails. Now that he's dumped her, she's threatening to expose him to his wife (Paula Miranda).
A week later, Grace is fished out of the river, and Ro sets out to build a case against Hill. She starts by getting hired as a temp at his agency, H2A, and letting Hill's nature take its course.
Ro's accomplice in just about everything is Miles (Giovanni Ribisi), a researcher at the paper and apparently her only friend. For such an intelligent woman, it seems odd she doesn't notice Miles has a mad crush on her.
Hill's wife is the money behind the agency, although it's so successful that shouldn't be a factor anymore. Hill's right-hand woman, Josie (Daniella Van Graas), helps him keep a lid on office affairs and other business details.
Talkative Gina (Clea Lewis) fills Ro in on all the juicy office gossip, then disappears, having fulfilled her expository function.
Miles, the movie's wild card, gets tips from the police and hacks into everyone's computers, including Ro's. Our heroine gets into one hazardous situation after another while trying to get the goods on her boss, who in her fantasies becomes confused with memories of her abusive father.
Yes, there's a little bit of everything in Perfect Stranger, all slickly packaged by director James Foley. The solution will probably surprise you– I had it wrongly figured out halfway through– but when it was over, I found the movie vaguely unsatisfying, less than the sum of its parts.
Maybe I just don't respond well to "Gotcha!"