What on earth has happened to Halle Berry? One year it's Oscar- winning action in 'Monster's Ball', next she's taking the worst actress Razzie for 'Catwoman'. Despite its solid cast - Bruce Willis and Giovanni Ribisi flounder alongside Berry - 'Perfect Stranger' isn't going to raise her profile in any positive way.
After the mysterious murder of her childhood friend Grace (Aycox), ruthless investigative journalist Rowena Price (Berry) gets involved in the case. She believes that the killer is well-heeled, and very married, ad executive Harrison Hill (Willis). Going undercover with two identities - both as temp Katherine Pogue in Hill's office and cyber girl Veronica who instigates an online relationship with Hill in the chatroom where he met Grace - she single-mindedly sets about revealing his guilt. Her techie friend Miles (Ribisi) offers sinister geeky backup.
Berry looks amazing but lingering shots of her body and her oh-so fantastic outfits (and they are definitely worth a look) do not a good film make. And that's about as complex as it gets. A ludicrous, clunky plot, with Agatha Christie touches (belladonna, anyone?!) starts off badly and proceeds to go nowhere for a long, long 109 minutes.
Although 'Perfect Stranger' spends quite a lot of that time online, there's very little dramatic interest that can be aroused by having a person staring at a screen, typing away, and reading out loud while they do - even if that person looks as good as Halle Berry.
More attention was paid to the production values - notice Rowena's well-designed apartment, Hill's glossy advertising agency - than the predictable script. Perhaps the filmmakers were concentrating so hard on how the product placements were going to work that they didn't realise that they had a film to fit around them. Preposterous and implausible, 'Perfect Stranger' is proof that looks aren't everything.