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Fatal Instinct layers gags so thick they all flop

Fatal Instinct
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Directed by Carl Reiner.
Starring Armand Assante, Sean Young,
Kate Nelligan, and Sherilyn Fenn.
Loews Copley Place.

By Patrick Mahoney
Staff Reporter

So much potential -- that leads to nothing. This is the case with Fatal Instinct, the new release starring Armand Assante, Sean Young, Kate Nelligan, and Sherilyn Fenn. The title is a clear spoof on Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct, as are many other scenes and images in the movie, but overall, these spoofs just aren't funny. This movie could have been a killer. It had all the possibilities of a great satire of one of the easiest movie genre to satirize. But, alas, it fails -- pretty miserably too.

Part of Fatal Instinct's problem is that it tries to spoof too many things. It seems that not a scene goes by that isn't stolen from another movies, not a dialogue goes by that isn't a reference to something else. There is just too much that expects you to have seen something else, and it causes the movie to lose a lot of its cohesion. The movie would be significantly better if it weren't trying to spoof every other thriller movie created.

The film opens with a woman walking, across an amusement park. Soon she steps in some chewing gum and starts getting things stuck to her shoe. Mildly amusing. The problem is that this scene, along with many others, is far too overused, and soon becomes extremely tiring. Another prop much too overused is the ice pick from Basic Instinct, I can't help but groan when Baz pulls out the case full of ice picks labeled for each day of the week.

Perhaps the best thing to do during the movie is to sit back, ignore the plot and try to identify where each scene is stolen from. Like the boat scene from Cape Fear or the kitchen scene from Fatal Attraction.

Armand Assante does a good job in this movie, given what he has to work with. He did make a incredibly believable moron. His line, "I don't look as dumb as I am," is delivered perfectly and is probably the high point of the movie. The rest of the actors all muddle in a pool of mediocrity. None of them are particularly ingenious in their roles, although this may partly be the fault of the writers.

I don't recommend seeing this movie for the plot since you will be disappointed; the ending isn't too great either, much too confused and twisted for its own good. I am not convinced that I even understand it now. The are two problems with the plot. The first is that there really isn't that much of it, the director seems to be banking on the humor of each scene to carry the film. The second problem is that what little plot there is incredibly boring and slow moving.

The movie tries to be funny by taking all the "trademark" parts of standard thriller and exaggerating them. The only problem is that it's just not funny. Maybe for the first ten minutes its amusing, but after that it's just forced too much to be even the slightest bit amusing.

I wouldn't recommend paying any money to actually see this movie. But should you have the misfortune to actually see this movie, then I'd suggest ignoring the main characters and looking trying to find the ice cream scooper hidden in the picture. Sort of like a Where's Waldo book.