Nothing To See Here

Sharon Stone in a scene from movie "Basic Instinct 2"
CBS News Sunday Morning contributor David Edelstein finds that "Basic Instinct 2" is, well, very basic.

No, you don't see her privates. Sorry. Had to get that out of the way -- it's the first thing people want to know. You do see a lot, just not … never mind. I know it's Sunday morning and we're supposed to be thinking about more spiritual things, but let's face it, the peep-show part of "Basic Instinct" -- that was the hook. And the suspense in "Basic Instinct 2" -- come to think of it, the only suspense in "Basic Instinct 2" -- is whether Sharon Stone at age 48 can compete with one of the great eye-poppers in cinema history: Sharon Stone at age 34.

Remember our first full glimpse of Stone's Catherine Trammell in the first "Basic Instinct"?

What a luscious, overripe, shamelessly sleazy piece of trash that movie was, and I mean that as a high compliment. It's no wonder, that brilliant nutbird scholar Camille Paglia calls Catherine a "pagan goddess" from the "cult of antiquity."

Well, the goddess goes thudding to earth in "Basic Instinct 2". Sharon Stone looks mighty fine, but the effort shows. And there's nothing but her skin tone to think about, since the movie is like a two-hour talk show on C-Span. It's like they replaced the director's Viagra with Valium.

This time, Catherine uses her wiles on an English psychiatrist played by David Morrissey, an excellent actor but not a titanic enough adversary. Michael Douglas and his cartoon macho -- that was perfect.

See, Morrissey's shrink makes the mistake of getting all Freudian, as if Freud is going to help him stay out of the clutches of a pagan goddess from the cult of antiquity.

It's too bad the studio didn't give us film clips of the opening, with Sharon Stone driving off a bridge with her latest male victim at 110-miles-an-hour while doing naughty things to herself. It's unbelievably ridiculous, but it's the best part of the movie by far. After that, "Basic Instinct 2" is like a Freudian joke in slow motion. And it's set in a drab London that's, no offense to English people, really un-erotic.

So what happened to Sharon Stone? She was famous for having announced as a child that she would be "the next Marilyn Monroe." And it looked for a while as if she could top her model. She didn't just capture the "male gaze," she twisted it into a noose. But "Basic Instinct" -- what do you do for an encore? In "Basic Instinct 2", Sharon Stone conquers everyone except Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct 1".