Fatal Instinct (1993)
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One thing it has for sure: lots of sexual innuendos and just plain overt sexuality. It's yet another one of these PG-13 ratings that is a joke. This is not for kids. Also, this film won't be much for those without a knowledge of classic crime films of the past, from the '40s to the '80s. Many parts of this movie parrot scenes from Fatal Attraction, Body Double, etc. It takes several viewings to catch most of the inside jokes.
Armand Assante is the smooth private detective and Sherilyn Fenn is his attractive and loyal secretary. Kate Nelligan, Sean Young and Christopher McDonald add to the fun. To be frank, I enjoyed this more on the first viewing than I did on the second. After watching it twice, I thought the film would have been better had it been cut 10-15 minutes, and it's only 90 minutes. However, I am not knocking it: it's a fun movie.
The film looks great, and the jokes aren't as much of a hit-and-miss affair as you could fear. Naturally it's almost essential that you've seen most of the films it takes a crack at (Double Indemnity, Body Heat, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, Sleeping with the Enemy just to mention a few).
But what really elevates Fatal Instinct above similar efforts is the brilliant performance from Armand Assante, who displays a comic timing that I never would have guessed he had. He plays his completely oblivious-to-everything-that's-happening-around-him detective with such dead pan seriousness, that it's impossible not to laugh (the scenes with his skunk little Neddy are hilarious).
Never mind the critics, find this film and see it. [8/10]
The result is a film with some clever lines spoken by the cast as though they are acting in the prototype movies that Mr. Reiner is spoofing, with great panache. Not everything works, but when it does, the fun never seems to stop making us laugh.
The cast Mr. Reiner assembled is up to the task. Armand Assante is excellent as Ned Ravine, a man who is a policeman and lawyer and who does some excellent dancing in those red stiletto shoes his character seems to love. Sherilyn Fenn is the loyal secretary Laura. Kate Nelligan does an excellent imitation of Barbara Stanwyck as the scheming wife, Lana. Sean Young has some good moments in the film.
"Fatal Instinct" is a film to watch with a lot of friends. Mr. Reiner shows why he has been one of the best comic writers in America.
This film spoof "Fatal Attraction," "Basic Instinct," and every film noir movie ever made. Funny Carl Reiner film.
Armand Assante is Ned Ravine, cop and lawyer. So he can arrest you, read you your rights (with the help of cue cards), and then defend you in court.
Sherilyn Fenn is Laura Lincolnberry, sweet, pretty assistant who secretly is in love with Ned.
Kate Nelligan is Ned's wife, Lana Ravine, who is having a torrid affair with Frank, the auto mechanic who never seems to finish the job, played ably by Christopher McDonald (snotty golf professional in 'Happy Gilmore'). The joke is that Ned only sees a drawn out repair job, and is oblivious to the love affair. Tony Randall also does a good turn as Judge Skanky.
It would be a mistake to call this a good movie. It has a number of funny moments, but I found it mostly a series of jokes woven into a thin story. However, I found it worthwhile just to see Sherilyn Fenn.
The acting is well done and contributes to the hilariousness of the film, which spoofs a handful of murder mysteries and thrillers including Sleeping with the Enemy and Basic Instinct. Sean Young does a humorous imitation of Sharon Stone's character in Basic Instinct and Sherilyn Fenn does a great Sleeping with the Enemy spoof; it made me crack up at the towel-lining scenes! In addition, Armand Assante's bumbling and obliviousness to everything around him is priceless! There are non-stop gags and surprises from start to finish that will leave you horse-laughing. Even with the amount of comedy in the film, the actors kept their expressions serious and collected, rather than forcing out slapstick puns. This makes you appreciate the humor more.
There isn't much plot to the story, though, and I wished some of the characters elements, including the abusive husband parody from Sleeping with the Enemy, have been emphasized more. But, other than that, it's enjoyable and fun stuff here. If you're stuck on what to watch but want a good laugh, this film is for you!
Reiner smartly chose to cast strong actors instead of pure comics whose uncanny ability to play the funny material with completely straight faces is what makes the film so funny.
Armand Assante is surprisingly funny as Ned Ravine, a cop and a lawyer who is being cheated on by a scheming wife (Kate Nelligan), being pursued by a sexy client (Sean Young)and being loved from afar by his faithful secretary (Sherilyn Fenn). There are also funny turns from Christopheer McDonald as Nelligan's dim-witted lover, James Remar, in a perfect take off of Max Cady from CAPE FEAR, and Tony Randall as a judge.
The gags come fast and furious and most of them work, there's even a very funny cameo by Bob Euker, as a color commentator for a trial. Just sit back, relax, don't think about it too much and there's a lot of fun to be had here.
I recently saw it again, and still thought it was terrible. I read a review Roger Ebert gave of it, and he gave the movie one and a half stars. Roger, in my opinion, was being too nice.
Carl Reiner has directed some great movies (i.e. The Jerk), but this is easily his worst. The jokes in the movie ranged from mediocre to just flat out awful and predictable. One of the worst is in the courtroom scene, when the bailiff calls for a ten minute recess. Sure enough, the gag was that everyone went outside and played. Get it? Recess? Ha ha- not! Comedy is indeed hard, but this movie shows that editing your scripts is always a good idea. The kind of humor when the cast acts seriously while the gags speak for themselves worked well for movies like Airplane, Naked Gun, and Hot Shots, but not for this movie. I can't say if it was the acting, the jokes, or the sheer dislike for the characters, but something just wasn't clicking. I'm just curious as to how the cast members felt about this movie as they were doing it. Armand Assante in some scenes looked as if he was ready for Carl to yell "CUT!" any minute. He did not look comfortable doing this comedy. Sean Young looked like she was trying to have fun with it, and is pretty convincing in some scenes. Above all, though, something went terribly wrong with this movie. If you want to rent this movie, I would suggest not paying any more than one dollar for it on video.
The movie is comparable to the Naked Gun movies, but in my opinion NG was just a bit better.
My vote: 6 out of 10.
As for the rest of the movie, it's filmed on what appears to be a shoe-string budget. But then again, there's nothing in the film requiring a big budget to begin with. The cinematography feels cheap and the direction is sometimes boring, but the actors (particularly Assante) provide great performances. The storyline is ridiculously boring, and there are some spoof jokes that seem incredibly out of place and unfunny (such as when Sean Young's character takes the Ravine family rabbit for a roller coaster ride, a la Fatal Attraction).
Good jokes in the dialogue and original, if cheap, side gags distract from a poor overall screenplay. This isn't the best movie in the genre, but it holds it's own. This movie is probably even better than one or two of the Naked Gun films. Fans of the genre will be thoroughly entertained by it. Others might not appreciate the humor.
**1/2 (out of four)
The movie features an incredible cast and it was fun to see some of my faves BUT(and this is a big but) when I saw it again I really found it kind of boring. I think at the time it came out it was funny but it doesn't hold up well and having seen alot more parody movies since then, I'll admit some of the jokes here aren't very good. It maybe ok to watch as a late night or if one just likes this type of movie in general(which I do!) but there are really better spoof movies around.