Basic Instinct 2 (Michael Caton-Jones). 114 minutes. Opens Friday (March 31). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: N Rating: N
Say what you will about the original Basic Instinct (I called it the worst film of 1992, and stand by that), at least the people making it believed in it. Paul Verhoeven brings a malevolent glitter to his trashy projects, and Joe Eszterhas's 90s screenplays are like road maps of his phobias.
Basic Instinct 2, which has been in development for eight years, relocates the story to London and hooks Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) up with her court-assigned shrink, played by English actor David Morrissey, who's rather like Liam Neeson, only heavier and slower.
I could spend days on what's wrong with Basic Instinct 2, from flat-footed, aimless scenes that seem to have been directed under water, to dialogue that resembles something translated from Thai by people who don't speak English; from the way corpses pile up endlessly, leaving you to wonder how Tramell has spent the 13 years since the original without getting herself incarcerated, to drab art direction.
This might have been salvageable if the filmmakers had done something bizarre hired the Coen brothers to write and direct, for example. David Cronenberg was attached for a while. That might have been interesting
Sharon Stone has never been exactly a star; she's more of a quasar, a quasi-stellar object who was, essentially, a star in one film (this one) and an actor one other time, in Casino. For the last decade, her career has been unfocused and haphazard, and she seems to have settled into a life as a flamboyant TV guest star on shows as diverse as Will And Grace and The Practice.
She's obviously worked hard to get herself ready to be naked in what might be her last shot at movie stardom.
If the script and direction were in Stone's condition, the picture would be in good shape, but you can tell it's been persistently tailored to a star persona so far past her sell-by date that you could label the scent the film gives off Desperation, by Sharon Stone.