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PCR # 314  (Vol. 7, No. 13)  This edition is for the week of March 27--April 1, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Basic Instinct 2"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
One star

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Starring: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling and David Thewlis
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins

With all due respect to Simon and Garfunkle, "Where have you gone, Joe Eszterhas?" For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Eszterhas is a screenwriter who, in 1992, gave us "Basic Instinct." While the film soon gained more notoriety from co-star Sharon Stone's rather revealing interrogation scene then from its merits, it did benefit from a talented cast (Michael Douglas, George Dzunda, etc) and director (Paul Verhoeven). Now, fourteen years later, the sequel that nobody I know of was screaming for has arrived.

The film opens with blonde and beautiful author Catherine Trammell (Stone) driving recklessly through the streets of London with a handsome man as her passenger. As the car goes faster and faster, the action in the car heats up as well and the car eventually ends up in, I'm assuming, the River Thames. While Trammell swims to safety, her boy toy drowns and soon she's back in another police station undergoing interrogation. She is examined by the police psychiatrist, who proclaims her to be a chronic risk taker and possibly a danger to herself and society. With no evidence of any foul play, she is released and immediately heads to the doc's office, where she begins attending sessions to talk about her problems. Of course, it wouldn't be a "Basic Instinct" film if there wasn't multiple combinations of sex and murder and sex and deceit and sex. Oh, and sex.

Say what you want about Sharon Stone. She worked her way through Hollywood, doing good work in such films as "Total Recall" and "Above the Law." She then rocketed to stardom thanks to a strategically placed camera in "Basic Instinct" and has done some excellent work since, even earning an Oscar nomination for "Casino." However, her talents are wasted here, as she plays Trammell almost like a parody. Every glance is meant to be seductive. Each time she speaks, it's like she's reading from a dime store novel. And I never thought I'd say this but, in this film, Sharon Stone naked is down right boring! Don't get me wrong. She looks great at 48. But the nudity is so meant to arouse the audience and instead does the opposite. Give me Charlotte Rampling, who at age 60 is just as beautiful as she was when I first saw her in "Orca" almost 30 years ago, any day. But it's not all Stone's fault. I put that blame on a script that is so full of cliche's that I actually knew the end of the film 10 minutes before it ended. I don't mean knowing like when some people figured out the end of "The Sixth Sense." I mean I knew what the last scene was going to be and probably could have written the dialogue if I'd given it a minutes thought. I can't believe that the script was fashioned by two writers who separately fashioned "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Internal Affairs," or that the heavy handed direction was by the director of "Memphis Belle" and "Doc Hollywood." For whatever reason, rather then fashion his own style, Caton-Jones has decided to remind the audience as often as possible that this is more of the "Basic Instinct" story. Look, there's Sharon Stone straddling something (a chair, a coffee table, some guy she just met on the street). Ooooh, look out, she's holding an ice pick. Hey, she keeps referring to one of the characters in her book as "Shooter," which was Michael Douglas' nickname in the first film.And instead of any pacing, each scene ends with a thud, followed by a few notes from Jerry Goldsmith's original score for the first movie. The film is also full of so many continuity and location errors that I wonder who was really in charge. The film showcases a very modern London, complete with skyscrapers and bright lights. Yet, half way through the film, it looks like the cast has stumbled onto the set of "A Christmas Carol," what with the cobblestones and old time cabs. And speaking of London, why does the car Catherine is driving at the beginning of the film have the steering wheel on the left side (like we do here in the states) when every other car used in the film has the steering wheel on the right side (like they do in England)?

If there is anything positive to say about the film it's that the actors are trying their best. Morrissey is solid as the psychiatrist whose curiosity gets the best of him and David Thewlis does a fine job as the local investigator who may be a bad cop. Or maybe not. No, wait, he is. I think. It's that kind of film. My advice this week: if you're going to go see a sequel with ice in it, make it "Ice Age 2".

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Basic Instinct 2"  One star

This week's movie review of "Basic Instinct 2" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.