To paraphrase French critic Michel Mourlet on Charlton Heston, Michael Douglas is an axiom, which means, in the case of this 1994 spin-off, that if you’ve already seen Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct you know in advance what the politics will be: strong women in positions of power are just fine as long as they aren’t sexually dominant and obey middle-class rules of propriety. Douglaswhose lopsided facial expressions come in two basic settings, constipated/thwarted lockjaw mode and glib/preening grin modeplays a Seattle computer executive who’s sexually importuned by former girlfriend and present boss Demi Moore; when he refuses to go all the way with her she accuses him of sexual harassment. Michael Crichton’s novel served as the basis of Paul Attanasio’s script, which is directed by Barry Levinson; the silly melodrama has some watchable as well as pleasurable moments, including two good sex scenesone between Douglas and Moore and one between Douglas and Donald Sutherlandand an interesting use of the company office as a location milked for various paranoid effects. Much less winning are a total lack of plausible motivation when it comes to Moore’s character (as in Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct, naked lust after Douglas’s bod is supposed to explain everything) and the improbable uses of high-tech virtual reality. With Caroline Goodall, Roma Maffia, and Dennis Miller. (JR)

This entry was posted in Featured Texts. Bookmark the permalink.