A Paul Verhoeven/Joe Eszterhas potboiler concerning a smarmy drinking, smoking, drug-abusing cop who is following a case that happens to be a replica of the author’s heretofore published trashy novel.*************************** Basic Instinct. A Paul Verhoeven/Joe Eszterhas potboiler concerning a smarmy drinking, smoking, drug-abusing cop who is following a case that happens to be a replica of the author’s heretofore published trashy novel. And in following the case, he discovers that the suspect is profiling him for her next novel, which oddly happens to be panning out similarly as time continues. The tortuous plotting wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t take itself so deathly serious, and had it not buried itself so deeply in the piledriving sleaze, which happens to be the imprimatur of Verhoeven and Eszterhas’ style. It does not help, either, that had the sleazy nature been reduced even fractionally, the whole plot behind Basic Instinct (which you should follow your instinct from the start, by the way) conspicuously concentrates on and only on how to be so tricksy; but the slight of Verhoeven’s cinematic hand and the sweat he attempts to conceal from the camera’s view seek to call more attention to it, and more so than the already sore, blinking Red Herrings served up to us daily. Slick and erotic, it’s not, but cheesy and tawdry are well within its level of accomplishments. I don’t think anyone was thrilled with Michael Douglas’ nudity, and as for Sharon Stone’s gratuitous helpings (along with her much-publicized but infantile goodie-shot) if you were to match it with her brand of heavy, breathe-y overacting, you might say she found her métier. A very few staunch performances can’t lend any solidarity to this rap sheet.
With George Dzundza, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Wayne Knight.Final Verdict: D.