Perfect Stranger (15) 108min (3 Stars) Investigative reporter Rowena Price (Halle Berry) thinks that her friend’s murder might be connected to powerful ad executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis) and so goes undercover with the help of Miles Hailey (Giovanni Ribisi). Posing as a temp at Hill’s agency, Rowena begins to close in on her suspect but then things begin to take a murderous turn. Flawed, cliché-ridden but very watchable twisty turny thriller from the always interesting New York filmmaker James Foley (At Close Range, Glengarry Glen Ross, Confidence). Berry sleepwalks through this all too familiar role but Willis and Ribisi try their best to bring some kudos to the growing hysteria. General release from Fri 13 Apr.
Fracture (15) 90min (3 Stars) The second film starring rising star Ryan Gosling out this fortnight is this hamstrung legal chiller which pits Gosling’s eager young attorney against Anthony Hopkins’ murder rap beating structural engineer. Solid, predictable direction from Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear, Hart’s War), a sparse script, a studied performance from Gosling and a scene eating one from Hopkins do however make this a pleasing cross between Joseph L Mankewicz’ Sleuth and Mark Pellington’s underrated Arlington Road. See interview. General release from Fri 20 Apr. See interview, page 42.
Wild Hogs (12A) 99min (1 Star) Meet Doug (Tim Allen), Woody (John Travolta), Bobby (Martin Lawrence) and accident-prone Dudley (William H Macy), four Cincinnati-based men in various stages of a midlife crisis. As a distraction they go out motorbiking together. One day they decide to go on a proper road trip but can these suburban fools handle the open road?
Welcome to the first huge family film hit of the year (if the US box office is anything to go by), and boy is it broad. Lame dialogue, gay policeman, cartoon Hells Angels gangs (fronted by a wasted Ray Liotta) and the dumbest of roadhouse slapstick make this a nausea-inducing ride. This is Smokey and the Bandit meets City Slickers. Even the romantic, heroic small town comic dénouement (which on paper must have seemed like the cleverest deconstruction of the Western since Gerald Thomas’ Carry on Cowboy) is fumbled to allow Peter Fonda to do the most embarrassing cameo of his career. Appaling in every way.
General release from Fri 13 Apr.