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With: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis, Hugh Dancy, Anne Caillon, Iain Robertson, Stan Collymore, Kata Dob�, Flora Montgomery, Jan Chappell
Written by: Leora Barish, Henry Bean, based on characters created by Joe Eszterhas
Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality, nudity, violence, language and some drug content
Running Time: 114
Date: 03/21/2006

Basic Instinct 2 (2006)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Icepick of the Litter

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Sometimes all you want is to sit and watch some good trash. Not bad trash, like a Big Momma's House 2 that tries to be funny and isn't, but good trash, like Basic Instinct 2 that does not try to be funny and is.

Sharon Stone returns, after 14 years, as Catherine Tramell, the deadly beautiful, manipulative and coldly cunning writer who may or may not be a serial killer. The 1992 film, a giddy celebration of all things base and sleazy, made her a star. She spent the subsequent years trying to equal that performance (coming close, once, in Casino).

Now she's back to where she started, content to snarl and swagger her way through second-rate material. Although she turned in a delightful comic support in last year's Broken Flowers, she's at home as a more elaborate Jason Voorhees or a sexier Hannibal Lecter.

Stone has scrapped all of her old co-workers for a new set of writers, co-stars and director Michael Caton-Jones. Catherine is now living in England. She gets arrested after her car, containing a drug-ridden soccer star in the passenger seat, plunges into the water.

Criminal psychiatrist Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey) is assigned to examine her; she becomes fascinated by him and signs up for regular sessions. It's unethical for him to do so, but Catherine easily persuades him.

In fact, Glass is a pathetically easy target. At least Michael Douglas's Detective Curran was on more or less equal footing with his foe, but here, Catherine never even breaks a sweat. Between her and a slightly unethical cop, Washburn (David Thewlis), Glass never knows who's coming or going.

As with Joe Eszterhas' original 1992 script, Basic Instinct 2 involves a series of murders of people in Glass' life, but doesn't particularly care about coming up with a logical chain of events. Rather, it's geared toward pleasing test audiences and generating more sequels. But at least writers Leora Barish and Henry Bean provide their characters with several malevolently quotable lines, none of which can be reprinted in a family newspaper.

Workman director Caton-Jones has covered a number of genres with only one other sex-related film, Scandal (1989), on his resume. He directs with the same stiff upper-lip observational quality, never blatantly wallowing the way Paul Verhoeven did in 1992. He does, however, make 48 year-old Stone dangerously enticing.

Most of all, this cast and crew make Basic Instinct 2 ludicrously, hilariously entertaining. You gets what you pays for.

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