The third part of The Perfect Stranger trilogy finds Nikki Comiskey at a crossroads …. again.
The film begins with Nikki (now played by Julianna Allen) recapping how, many years ago, she was a high-profile attorney who, after having dinner with Jesus (Jefferson Moore), decided to ditch her legal career and devote herself to her family. (Nikki explains that she was a “closet agnostic” before she met Jesus.) Ten years after having dinner with Nikki, Jesus appeared to Nikki’s teenage daughter, Sarah, and encouraged her to not abandon the faith of her parents. However, while Sarah is off thriving at college, Nikki feels like her life is in a rut. Though she still believes, she no longer gets much out of going to church and, once again, her marriage is starting to feel strained.
A visit with her mom doesn’t go well. Mom wants to know why Nikki had to abandon her legal career. Nikki gets annoyed and storms out of the house. She gets in her car and starts to make the long drive home. She calls her husband and explains what happened. Her husband informs her that he’s going to busy working on the roof for a bit. (Hmmm …. I wonder if this seemingly random bit of dialogue is going to come up again towards the end of the film?) While Nikki is driving home, she sees a familiar figure standing on the side of the road.
Yes, it’s Jesus (though he’s currently going by Josh).
Nikki gives Jesus a ride and they discuss why Nikki is feeling so unsatisfied with her life. Along the way, they meet a trucker with a porn addiction and they take him to dinner so that Jesus can encourage him to go to rehab. (At the diner, Nikki tries to order a late night salad. Needless to say, that doesn’t go well.) Finally, Nikki gets a chance to help out a minister named Tony (Matt Wallace), who is a character in another film that Jefferson Moore made in which he played Jesus.
(In fact, I discovered that Moore also starred in a TV series called The Stranger, which was a spin-off of The Perfect Stranger films. So really, there’s an entire Perfect Stranger cinematic universe out there.)
My main impression of Nikki and the Perfect Stranger is that it was surprisingly short. With a running time of 63 minutes, it definitely felt more like an extra long episode of an anthology show than an actual movie. That said, Nikki and the Perfect Stranger doesn’t feel as preachy as the previous Perfect Stranger films. I imagine that’s because the previous two films featured Jesus “educating” an agnostic while this third one features Jesus checking up on an old friend and giving advice. Since he’s a bit less condescending and argumentative in this film, Jefferson Moore is far more likable here than he was in the previous films. As opposed to some of the films that I’ve watched this month, the emphasis is more on helping than on judging. (I can only imagine the tortures to which the Christianos would have subjected that trucker.) By the time the end credits roll, Nikki’s story has been efficiently wrapped up.
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