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Perfect Stranger – Movie Review

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“Stranger Danger!”
_ Perfect Stranger _
Title: Perfect Stranger
And the Oscar goes to: The trailer editor for making another flop of a film look appealing and riveting! Ok, maybe Perfect Stranger wasn’t that bad. But it sure was close. What looked to be a smart thriller turned into a well written but poorly acted let down. I think the studio took too much stock in Halle Berry’s one Oscar win and overloaded her midlevel acting shoulders. And other features as well. You can argue that she was miss-led by director James Foley but you can’t place all the blame there.
The plot was engaging from scene one. Rowena (Berry) is journalist with an amazing story placed in her lap regarding advertising guru Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis). Along with her sidekick Miles (Giovanni Ribisi), they suspect Hill of killing a mutual friend and so go inside the ad firm to entrap Harrison. The cat and mouse game soon gets twisty and you aren’t sure who is cat and who is mouse. The film does a decent job of wrapping everything up in the end with an unexpected twist and as mentioned the writing was not to blame. The error was in the over the top performances by Berry and at times the remaining cast as well.
Most of the scenes Berry is in, and that is pretty much all, she is either overacting in a foul mouthed rant or simply posing. It seems the directing avenue was to shoot as much of Berry’s body as possible in order to distract from the bad acting. This made the film funny and hard to take seriously. Even Willis and Ribisi seemed lost as they did their best to save scene after scene. The only thing worse than Halle’s acting was her language. That definitely is not her fault. If there is one mistake by the writer it was to create a female character that they thought had to be foul and crude to be taken seriously in a male world. Berry is a classy lady and to give her the lines they did degraded her in many ways along with her character.
Am I being too tough on little Halle? Maybe so. Granted most film goers will find the plot and twists enough to salvage the flick. Many will overlook the acting and just go along with the ride. If you are able to do that then you might get through it ok. But if you like to believe your characters then you will be very disappointed. I give Perfect Stranger 2 out of 5 Hemmingway Daiquiris’. Avoid this film as if you were five years old on the playground and it was a greasy man with candy. I’m Matt Mungle
The Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)(04/13/07)
“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and hosts the weekly syndicated Indie Rock Radio Show Spin 180. Plus with his wife Cindy they do a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies. For additional reviews and interview clips visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

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