Lots Of Skin, but No Heart

BASIC INSTINCT Directed by Paul Verhoeven; Written by Joe Eszterhas

Some movies are so ferociously prejudged -- sometimes because of costs that seem scandalous, sometimes because of controversies with pressure groups or the ratings board -- that it becomes difficult to evaluate them fairly when they appear. One looks so chic (and so inside) airily dismissing something like Ishtar or Hudson Hawk. What fun for critics and show-biz reporters. And so easy too.

Basic Instinct is the latest candidate for admission to this inner circle of the cinema's damned. Its script was bought for a record $3 million, and people immediately...