Sharon Stone returns to the role that made her infamous in Basic Instinct 2, a veritable cold shower of a sequel to 1992's softcore spectacular. This time the setting's London, where crime novelist Catherine Tramell (Stone) works her way inside the mind and trousers of psychiatrist David Morrissey. The plot's tedious, the characters are cartoons and the sex is about as arousing as a two-hour Tube delay. But it's not an entirely lost cause: as erotic thrillers go, this is one of 2006's best comedies.
The chuckles commence with an opening sequence that sees Stan Collymore - yes, that one - buy the farm in a speeding car driven by our Shazza. Wriggling her way out of a murder rap, she enters therapy with the shrink assigned to the case, Michael Glass (Morrissey). As more bodies start piling up, the hapless quack finds himself drawn into his patient's web by come-ons like "Have you ever been to a murder scene right after it happened?"
Before the bonking begins (and there's not much of it), Michael diagnoses Catherine with "risk addiction", which isn't something you could pin on the filmmakers given their slavish efforts to rehash the original Basic Instinct. Helmer Michael Caton-Jones (Shooting Dogs, also out this week) gives the Big Smoke a slick sheen (even the seediest bits of Soho look spruce), but that's small beer compared with Paul Verhoeven's lurid cocktail of suspense and shagging. Morrissey looks embarrassed, while Stone is simply embarrassing; thus, the performance honours go to David Thewlis, whose sweary copper almost turns this tacky time-waster into a camp classic. But not quite.