Plot: Rowena Price (Halle Berry) is a masterful investigative reporter, one who has just uncovered a deep web of sexual misconduct involving a high ranking politician. This is the kind of story that not only makes a career, but establishes her as a top reporter and sends shock waves through the political world. But before she can even celebrate her ironclad article, she is told the newspaper has pulled the story and her main source has been bought off, so he has recanted. She feels so betrayed and disillusioned that she quits, but soon finds herself drawn into another undercover operation, after she learns about a high powered executive (Bruce Willis) who could be involved in a sex scandal and perhaps even more. As she is drawn into the executive’s web of online kink, will she uncover the truth or be the next victim?
Entertainment Value: Perfect Stranger is a thriller that boasts an impressive cast and James Foley in the director’s chair, but even this lineup can’t manage to make this thin, forgettable material work. I do think the movie is a little better than it should be thanks to the cast, but the end result is still predictable and rather bland. The narrative isn’t the worst out there, but it fails to even hit the basic tenets of the genre and struggles to build even minor suspense. The movie also tries to weave in some erotic moments, which turn out more comedic than arousing, such as the awkward cyber chats that read like teens who just discovered online chat rooms. The various twists and turns also stumble and while most thrillers of this kind are predictable, Perfect Stranger doesn’t even try to throw in wild twists to hold interest. Just one bland, dull turn after another, none of which resonate or even elicit much of a reaction. While the cast includes Halle Berry and Bruce Willis in prominent roles, no one really seems to be interested in the material and as such, the performances are basic at best. Giovanni Ribisi shows some enthusiasm at times, but that’s about it. I love erotic thrillers, but Perfect Stranger is just too dull and simple to recommend.
The movie wants to think it is an erotic thriller, with all the cyber kink and sex talk, but it fails to deliver the goods. The sex scenes are beyond tame, with no visible skin and the one topless scene involves a corpse. So if you want a hot, wild thriller, this movie isn’t going to fill that role. There’s some mild violence at times, but aside from a quick splash of crimson in one scene, there’s no bloodshed. Most of the violence happens off screen or is shown in tame, bloodless fashion. So an erotic thriller with minimal sex and violence, seems like a valid approach. The dialogue is mostly forgettable, basic stuff, but a few nice lines sneak in here and there. Ribisi’s creeper role has some moments as well, but it is Berry’s so bad, they’re hilarious mind games that standout. Her battle of wits with Willis is just so lame, but fun for a few laughs. No craziness. I wish this one had an ounce of out of the box flavor, but no such luck.
Overall Insanity: 0/10