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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    It (And She) Came From the Vault: Kyle Smith Review of “Basic Instinct 2”

    By Kyle | June 13, 2007

    Sharon Stone recently said of the reviews of “Basic Instinct 2,” ”Did I know people were going to stab me in the eye with a shrimp fork?” Who can she have been talking about? The Daily News gave the movie two and a half stars; Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-minus. Variety wrote, “Those hoping for either a sizzling — or an unintentionally hilarious — good time will be disappointed.” The reviews, then, weren’t all that bad. Except mine. Since the review isn’t available on the Post’s archive, I’ll re-post it here.

    Kyle Smith New York Post review of BASIC INSTINCT 2


    Running time: 112 minutes.

    Rated R (sex, nudity, violence, profanity, drug use)

    Interesting factoid I just uncovered, a piece of trivia apparently unknown to the filmmakers who torched $70 million on “Basic Instinct 2”: Sharon Stone is 77 years old.

    It was 19 hundred and 92 when we last snatched a glimpse — possibly I have that backwards — of Catherine Tramell, the tramp novelist and man-killer. When “Basic Instinct” premiered, Johnny Carson was still hosting “The Tonight Show,” Brett Favre had not yet thrown a pass for the Green Bay Packers and Dan Quayle was our vice president.

    Again playing Tramell, Stone, 77, begins the movie with a promisingly awful scene in which she speeds through London in a sporty Spyker at 110 mph while — how shall I put this? — manually entertaining herself, aided by a passed-out boy toy in the passenger seat. The scene climaxes with much crashing of glass and spewing of water that is, I think, meant to be symbolic of something.

    Tramell leaves her boyfriend in the car, and the car in the Thames, but escapes a murder rap on a technicality. (There were no witnesses because, according to this movie, there are no people in central London at night.)

    As hilarious as these opening minutes are, they’re all played dead seriously, which makes them that much funnier. As for the rest of the movie, opinion will differ on whether there is camp value. There certainly isn’t any other kind.

    Tramell enflames the manly parts of a policehired shrink (David Morrissey, a previously — and henceforth — obscure actor) who works in the “Gherkin Tower,” the most prominent member of the London skyline to be erected in many years, the one that reminds you of a Woody (Allen movie, “Match Point”) and is already a cinematic cliche. Is any Londoner’s office not in this building?

    Business booms for local coroners, but the shrink withholds evidence from cops and tramples on crime scenes because he’s dumbstruck with lust for Tramell. Never mind that he already has a certifiably hot girlfriend who is not on the AARP mailing list, or that Catherine shows signs of wanting to either frame him for murder or at very least kill all of his friends and acquaintances.

    From the moment she strolls into his office and says, “So, is this where we’re gonna do it?” he’s obsessed. On paper, anyway. On-screen, these two have all the uncaged animal passion of the Liza Minnelli-David Gest affair. As the ludicrous plot heads for a “twist” that is merely a preposterous coincidence, Stone, 77, drops saucy references to Masters and Johnson (note to readers still in their fertile years: These two were sex researchers whose work was considered a naughty cocktail-party topic when Lyndon Johnson was president); tries to sink into the hot tub but is defeated by the flotation properties of her volleyball breasts
    (look closely and you’ll be able to see the exact spot where the bicycle pump attaches); and rubs her long dewy thighs together. Actually, “dewy” isn’t quite the word I’m looking for. Reptilian?

    If you’re curious as to whether Stone, 77, takes the opportunity to spread her, um, wings as an actress, she doesn’t. She just slithers around moaning come-ons in an attempted throaty purr that, if you closed your eyes, would make you think of a female impersonator. Actually, even with your eyes open you might think that, given the comically drag-queeny poses she strikes in, for instance, a halter-top catsuit or a how-many-raccoons-had-to-die-for-this coat. At this point, there are inflatable toys that are livelier than Stone, but how can you tell the difference? “Basic Instinct 2” is not an erotic thriller. It’s taxidermy.

    Topics: Movies | 2 Comments »

    2 Responses to “It (And She) Came From the Vault: Kyle Smith Review of “Basic Instinct 2””

    1. Mick Gordan Says:
      September 28th, 2007 at 1:56 pm

      Mr. Smith,
      I think that there is some pent up frustrated sexual desire for Ms. Stone in this review. For years you have secretley lusted after her movie after movie. There is also some jealousy for Ms. Stone as well. Why jealousy? Because deep down you know that you can never get a woamn on the caliber of Ms. Stone and that when you turn 77 you will NEVER look as good as she does.

    2. spaceman Says:
      December 8th, 2007 at 11:06 am

      That review caused me much hillarity. I typically don’t agree with critics (they always like movies I don’t like and hate ones I love) and this is why I watched this movie. But in THIS case, the reviewer was right-on! The thing about Stone, she’s a fifty year old woman in a 22 year old’s body. There’s something that is just not right about that. She had all that plastic work and in the process, forgot how to act.