Was Ashley Judd at the hairdresser the day this script came in? She’s usually the star of movies like this — the low-level potboiler with the plucky girl in jeopardy, and Morgan Freeman around somewhere to give some sage advice. But in the Ashley Judd role this time we have Oscar-winner Halle Berry, whose post-Oscar choices have included the notorious duds Catwoman and Gothika. Please, fire your agent, Ms. Berry. Whoever told you to make this movie should be…sentenced to have to watch it.
Berry plays Rowena, an investigative journalist who gotcha’s a Mark Foley-style conservative Senator with some incriminating photos. But the story gets spiked when he pulls some strings, and she quits her job.
When a childhood friend is murdered, Rowena decides to go undercover to investigate. The friend had been having an affair with Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis), a big-time CEO she met online. He’s the kind of guy who when he kicks someone out for sharing secrets with the competition he really KICKS the guy out. She gets a job as a temp working in Mr. Big’s office and starts snooping around. And she starts chatting with him online, too. Pretty soon they’re typing back and forth about her underwear.
Her skeezy sidekick in all of this is Miles (Giovani Ribisi), a guy who is very big with getting around firewalls and seems a little too into Ro. There’s also an ex-boyfriend who is back in the picture but who was once involved with the murdered girl. Hill has a jealous wife. If Rowena isn’t careful, she could end up like her friend.
And if Halle Berry isn’t careful, she can end up having to give back her Oscar. This movie is all sensation, no sense or sensibility. The jump-out-at-you scares are all in the trailer, the backstory is cliched and obvious, and the big bad reveal at the end is laughably over the top. Strange, yes. Perfect — about as far as you can go in the other direction, which is where audiences should head when this movie hits the theaters.
Parents should know that this movie is filled with truly nasty stuff, including explicit and sometimes twisted sexual references and situations. There are references to adultery, promiscuity, sexual harassment at the workplace, online sex, gay sex involving someone in the closet, obsessive fixation, and child molestation. Characters use strong language (mostly the f-word) and drink (including references to celebrating by getting drunk). There is a scuffle and characters are injured and killed.
Families who see this movie should talk about why people are drawn to anonymous online relationships.
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy better thrillers like Charade and The Silence of the Lambs and a better film by this director, Confidence.