ZERO STARS/**** Image A Sound A- Extras B-
starring Sharon Stone, David Morrissey, Charlotte Rampling, David Thewlis
screenplay by Leora Barish & Henry Bean
directed by Michael Caton-Jones
by Walter Chaw Picture Chappaquiddick re-imagined as a Kylie Minogue video. Thus, auspiciously, begins Michael Caton-Jones's will-breaking Basic Instinct 2, a picture so magnificently awful that it demonstrates a special, indefinable kind of genius en route to being just another of the worst films in history. Schlock writer Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), who publishes under the nom de plume of "Woolf" (because she is one, get it?), is behind the wheel of a sporty little number as a drugged-up soccer hero fingers her snatch, climaxing at the moment she runs her racer through a glass crash barrier (?!) into an icy drink. (Perhaps the Thames--we're in Jolly Old England this time around.) Catherine then finds herself on the wrong side of the law again, ordered to undergo sessions with brilliant British shrink Michael Glass (David Morrissey, who has Liam Neeson's face down pat) on behalf of Scotland Yard's finest, Washburn (David Thewlis). Washburn calls Tramell a "cunt" and a "bitch" and accuses Glass at one point of being beguiled by the "smell of her pussy," which is the sort of elderly banter the knitting cotillion might still find shocking--though it's light years more appalling than Tramell's pleased reference to Masters & Johnson and her constant litany of "cum" [sic] declarations. "He was alive, he was making me cum," she says, and, "I think of you when I cum," and so on and so forth, marking her vampy, thumb-on-the-turntable performance as the most hideous bit of creaky past-prime tarting-about since Mae West was dropping the same dusty come-ons in support hose and pancake makeup. All that's missing are references to Kinsey and "bloomers."