2006-04-14 / Columnists

MovieScope

'Basic Instinct 2'- Stinkeroo
By Robert Snyder


Actor Michael Douglas is a smart man. He passed on reprising his role from 1992's "Basic Instinct."Actress Sharon Stone is not so smart. She didn't.

As a result, she's back as bad girl Catherine Tramell, 14 years older and no wiser in "Basic Instinct 2." Moving the venue from sun-soaked California to gloomy old England, "BI 2" has the alleged serial killing authoress facing trial as the one responsible for the death of a drugged out football star, with whom she was driving at 110 mph when her sports car took a plunge into the Thames River.

"Did you try to free him from the sinking car?" asks Detective Roy Washburn (David Thewlis).

"Yes, a little," answers Catherine. She explains that her main concern was freeing herself.

"I guess I'm selfish," she shrugs with the attitude that once won Stone stardom. The actress is looking good and in top form playing her signature role as the amoral, now aging sexpot. But she needs a strong leading man to reduce to mush by the movie's end. This is where Douglas came to the fore for the first film's battle of the sexes.

Her "BI 2" target is Dr. Michael Glass, a psychiatrist played by David Morrissey. The English court has assigned him to determine her sanity. He declares that she suffers from "risk addiction" (the original title of the sequel) and that she's a danger to herself and others in her search for greater and greater thrills.

After the court clears her, Catherine willfully becomes David's patient, so she can play mind and body games with him and others associated with him. That includes his ex-wife, Denise (Indira Varma), and her boyfriend, journalist Adam Tower (Hugh Dancy), who is out to trash him in the tabloids.

As the bodies pile up, David grows more and more confused and irate (along with the audience) until the tables totally turn against him. Of course, it all winds up as material for Catherine's new sex/crime novel, appropriately titled, "The Analyst."

Under the direction of Michael Caton-Jones, "BI 2" is grungy dirty, but not shocking sexy the way director Paul Verhoeven did it in "BI." In fact, there really isn't much sex in the sequel at all, and certainly not much involving Stone.

It's been said that "BI 2", which opened at the number 10 spot on the box office list, may become a camp classic like 1995's "Showgirls" (also directed by Verhoeven). However, "BI 2" is not over-top-enough to win that "so-bad-it's good" distinction.

The only way "BI 2" will be remembered is that it features the role that made and broke Sharon Stone. It also reveals that Michael Douglas has good instincts.

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