Monday, March 3, 2014

Like a Virgin, Except Not At All


Commonly assumed to be a quick cash-in on Basic Instinct, Body of Evidence was actually in production before Sharon Stone's crotch opened wide on the big screen.


That doesn't make it feel any less like a quick cash-in.

Quick Plot: A millionaire with a heart condition is found dead in his mansion, cocaine in his bloodstream and handcuff scars on his wrists. The police and DA (Joe Mantegna) quickly discover said dead rich guy was dating a kinky golddigger named Rebecca, played by a pre-English accent carrying Madonna.


Eager to grab a big case, a lawyer named Frank (the eagerly naked Willem Dafoe) rushes to defend and, quite quickly, have ever so slightly sadomasochistic sex with Rebecca. Never mind that Frank seems happily married to restaurant owner Julianne Moore (in fairness, she has a bad haircut) or that more than one of Rebecca's exes has found himself in the hospital. This is MADONNA we're talking about.


Pre-Swept Away Madonna, in fact.


You're still not convinced that this isn't a Basic Instinct clone, are you? Truthfully, neither am I. Produced by the purveyor of class, Dino Delaurentis, Body of Evidence tries far too hard without really wanting to try hard enough. Yes, Madonna is naked and occasionally receiving oral sex in a parking garage, but because the film REALLY WANTS YOU TO KNOW THAT IT'S KINKY, nothing actually feels kinky. 


Take, for example, Rebecca and Frank's first (of many) sex scene, wherein the camera ogles Dafoe's belt to aggressively foreshadow the fact that--SHOCK OF ALL SHOCKS--Madonna will use it to tie his hands behind his back. Excuse me for not warning you about this before divulging such a scandalous detail. I assume your monocle is now halfway across the parlor from the shock of it all!


I'm sure that in 1992, the script for Body of Evidence seemed dangerous and exciting. Unfortunately, nothing is less sexy than trying to be sexy (just ask Nomi Malone). We don't know enough about Frank to feel anything about his fall from sorta-grace, and the most we learn about Rebecca is that she likes to have sex with silver foxes like Frank Langella and is really good at lighting candles. At least Catherine Tramell wrote crappy novels.

High Points
Well, if anyone out there is a big courtroom drama fan, I'd hate to miss the fact that this film is filled with a ready-made drinking game to take a shot anytime an objection is raised, overruled, sustained, or side-barred


Low Points
Ah, the complicated politics of raping a woman who sorta asked for it, then didn't, then kind enjoyed it and eventually came back for more. Ick.


Lessons Learned
People from LA know their nipple clamps

People in Oregon know how to light an entire roomful of candles in just 60 seconds


Judges in Oregon don't tolerate gasping in their courtroom


Rent/Bury/Buy
Body of Evidence is streaming on Instant Watch, which is about the amount of work you should give yourself to see it. Less sexy than it thinks it is and not nearly as goofy as I'd like it to be, this is early '90s mainstream trash at its blahest. There are other ways to see Madonna naked, and a LOT of other ways to see Dafoe's Willem. 

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