OCTOBER 13, 2008
When I was “talkbacking” with Bruce Willis on AICN (hey, should I begin a column called Aint It Cool News on HMAD? Seems fair, no?), I asked him what he thought about Perfect Stranger, because I considered it the worst movie he’d ever done. He admitted that it didn’t work, which is putting it lightly. Still, can’t blame him for wanting to do the movie. “Bruce, you’ll play a billionaire playboy who gets to fool around with Tamara Feldman and Halle Berry.” He probably didn’t even read the script.
The script was also discussed on AICN, when I reviewed the film as a “spy” and pointed out that it was the worst thriller since Taking Lives. Suddenly, the writer’s “friend” came on the talkback and explained how both scripts were heavily rewritten; the original drafts were rich with character, etc. I wish I had friends to defend my shit like that. And I will give him the benefit of the doubt; there are two writers credited. But still – there’s no way that even the basic idea behind this movie could ever be more interesting than a Lifetime thriller.
Part of the problem is that the film seems to be a relic from 1994. We have a slimy businessman, a woman snooping around, lots of sex (tame as it may be)... it comes off as someone trying to cash in on the success of Basic Instinct... 15 years later.
Another issue is that it’s not thrilling. The most exciting scene in the movie is the umpteenth “someone is snooping on someone else’s computer and gets caught” sequence from these movies. Otherwise, there is absolutely zero sense of danger or excitement. It’s just a bunch of boring shit; people chatting on IM, people looking at cyber-paintings, Willis drinking martinis and being “smooth”, Giovanni Ribisi being the most annoying computer nerd character ever seen in a film (I’d rather deal with 2 hours of Chuck’s friend on Chuck), etc. There's only one scene of violence in the entire film, and that's Willis messing up a guy's office.
Oh and that computer scene? It ends with Berry claiming she was actually just trying to give Bruce a list of 17 bars that make a particular drink he enjoys. It’s fucking stupid enough as it is, but she actually has the list! And he buys it! Oh for the love of Christ.
The WORST thing about the movie, however, is the insanely insipid ending. We discover that Berry is the killer that Berry has been tracking throughout the movie. This means that almost none of her scenes really make any goddamn sense, because she’s afraid of Willis (or Ribisi) because she suspects they might be the killer. Worse than that, however, is that they had three endings, each with a different killer. So who the fuck knows what the point of this movie was in the first place? The identity of the killer is pretty much up to chance (or test audience reaction) rather than the logical result of a story. Fuck you, everyone who worked on this script.
The only extra on the DVD is an EPK that actually spoils some of the movie’s ending. I assume no one except die hard fans of this fim would watch it. So no one’s ever probably watched it. There is also a promo for Blu-Ray, but damned if I was going to spend the extra dough to watch this crap in 1080p.
Willis is my hero; and I’ll watch him in anything. I defend movies that even he dismisses (such as Striking Distance). But this one? The only reason I own it is because I own all of his movies. If he ever came over, I don’t want him to see I don’t have Perfect Stranger and get insulted.
What say you?