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Rated 2.97 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Perfect Bomb
by Geoffrey D. Roberts

Perfect Stranger is the worst thriller released in the last three decades. This ill-conceived movie makes Basic Instinct 2 look stellar in comparison. 

At the beginning of the film, Rowena Price (Halle Berry) storms out of a bar having just told her publisher she resigns from her position as an investigative reporter for the New York Courier. Rowena’s anger stems from her editor’s decision not to print a controversial story she wrote under the pseudonym David Shayne. This article attacked the morals of a prominent U.S. senator who had a same-sex romance with an intern. The senator hid his sexuality from constituents while voting against legislation that would allow homosexuals equal rights.

Rowena ducks into a subway station and waits for the next train, unaware she is being followed. She’s startled when Grace Clayton (Nicki Aycox), someone she knew since childhood, approaches her and starts talking to her. Grace recently met with Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), a prominent New York advertising executive, to have sex. The pair came together after months of exchanging erotic e-mails as a result of connecting with each other in an Internet chat room.

Hill pretends to be happily married to millionaire Mia Hill (Paula Miranda) but engages in extramarital relationships with random women, then dumping them immediately after having sex. He stopped responding to Grace’s e-mails and ignored her calls the moment she left New York to head home. Bitter about Hill rejecting her, Grace began searching for Rowena so she could hand her a packet containing inappropriate e-mails received from Hill. Grace hopes Rowena will write an article that would destroy Hill.

Grace’s mother later files a missing person report after her daughter has failed to contact her for several weeks. Mrs. Clayton fears Grace might be the murdered woman dragged from a river by the NYPD. Rowena assures Mrs. Clayton that Grace didn’t meet with foul play because she’s seen her recently. However, Rowena learns the dead woman really is Grace. 

Deciding to find out more about Hill, Rowena becomes a temporary employee at his firm, using the alias Katherine Pogue. She soon catches the man's  wandering eye. Meanwhile, she entices him into an Internet relationship by masquerading in a chat room as Veronica, a woman Hill mistakes for a former associate.

Miles Haley (Giovanni Ribisi), Rowena’s former colleague, uses his skills to hack into Grace’s hard drive and obtain a complete record of everyone she communicated in e-mail with prior to being murdered. He retrieves an e-mail in which Grace issued Hill an ultimatum, telling him he has two choices -- either he pays attention to her or she will hand deliver his explicit e-mails to his wife.

Did Hill murder Grace -- or is someone else the killer? It’s difficult to care, for Todd Komarnicki’s screenplay, based on a story written by Jon Bokenkamp, contains too many confusing sequences that don’t connect to the film’s premise. Despite solid performances from Willis, Ribisi and Berry, nothing can save this film from its bad script and James Foley’s heavy-handed direction.

(Released by Sony Pictures Entertainment and rated "R" for sexual content, nudity, some disturbing violent images and language)

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