“Perfect Stranger” has a plot that twists and turns so much that it gradually strangles itself. Because screenwriters Todd Komarnicki and Jon Bokenkamp load the screen with dozens of obviously dubious clues, it’s hard to care when director James Foley finally reaches his limply foregone conclusion. As with the boy who cried wolf, it’s difficult to get interested when “Perfect Stranger” meets its end.Halle Berry trudges through this dreary mess as Rowena Price, an ace investigative reporter trying to revive her career after her exposé of a Mark Foley-like congressman goes south. A buddy of hers named Grace (Nicki Aycox) has just started a steamy online affair with top ad agency head Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis). You can tell that she’s not long for this world because she:
*gleefully enjoys the affair *wants to gain from it financially *appears in the story only to advance the plot
When Grace is eventually murdered, Rowena takes a job at Hill’s firm to see if she can lure him into revealing clues about Grace’s death. With the help of a skilled and rather sleazy hacker (Giovanni Ribisi), she attempts to see if she can trap Hill into revealing if he’s responsible.
Rowena may be a highly paid, but she doesn’t seem all that smart. Guilty or innocent, Hill has a mean temper and isn’t above beating up anyone who betrays him. If Rowena gets caught, Grace could have some company in the grave.
Willis is both suave charm and menacing, but nothing else in this film works. Waiting to find out who has murdered or is going to murder someone is like patiently trying to figure out who will come out on top in clash between the Royals and the Mariners. All of the characters in “Perfect Stranger” are duplicitous and horny, but none are interesting. Rarely have sex and murder seemed so mind-numbingly dull.It’s difficult to get involved in romantic situations where neither partner can lift their fingers from a keyboard.