Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction

It was fun, admit it, to watch Sharon Stone in 1992's Basic Instinct, getting Michael Douglas and his cop buddies cross-eyed just by uncrossing her legs on a day she forgot to wear underwear. The laughs to be had in this deliciously awful sequel are all unintentional. A bummer for film buffs, but a ball for fans of the misbegotten. Take the opener, when Stone, back as bisexual crime novelist and accused serial killer Catherine Tramell, drives her car off a London bridge while a soccer finger-fucks her to a screaming orgasm. And they say Hollywood forgot how to make movies for the whole family.

Credit Stone, 48, for getting in knockout shape for this vanity project. And she can act (see Casino), she just doesn't choose to do it here. Instead she loads up every line with sexual innuendo and plays Catherine as a predator who sits around her flat in heels, tight skirt and full makeup waiting for drop-ins. First up is Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), a shrink who treats her for risk addiction and becomes addicted to her himself. You'll have to take the script's word for that, since the doughy, dead-eyed Morrissey projects all the ardor of a zombie in a bespoke suit.

About that script. Henry Bean, justly praised for The Believer and Internal Affairs, wrote the damned thing with his wife, Leora Barish. Was it Stone or director Michael Caton-Jones who ordered them to remove the lewd, lurid vitality that writer Joe Eszterhas and director Paul Verhoeven brought to the original? Several fine actors go down with this ship, including David Thewlis as a corrupt cop and Charlotte Rampling as a Hungarian shrink. Rampling's natural beauty is a rebuke to everything fake and flashy in a movie that almost performs the miracle of making Madonna's Body of Evidence look passable.

From The Archives Issue 112: July 6, 1972