His writing partner was the gleefully vulgar Joe Eszterhas, who clearly timed this dirty little movie to cash in on the post-Basic Instinct Sharon Stone's newly notorious nether regions (and reissued on DVD to cash in on Basic Instinct 2). A credible actress (see Casino), Stone has always seemed willing to sabotage her own reputation by pandering to our, um, basic instincts, especially when the heavy-breathing Eszterhas is pulling the strings. Remember, this is the guy who wrote Showgirls.
Stone plays Carly, a sexually repressed divorcee who moves into a luxury high-rise and starts to sniff out a murder mystery when she discovers that the previous tenant of her apartment was killed. Her chatty neighbor, the druggie Vida (Polly Walker), has some information but not enough, so Carly sets off Scooby Doo-style to see what she can uncover.
At the same time not one but two lotharios are sniffing around. Young rakish Zeke (William Baldwin), her landlord, would kill for a date (oops, did I just write "kill?"), while the older, more mature, and more wooden Jack (Tom Berenger), a mystery writer, may be a more plausible suitor.
It soon becomes clear that this is a movie about voyeurism and that the not-so-secret secret about the Sliver building is that it's wired up and down, inside and out, with all sorts of concealed cameras taping the intimate doings of all the tenants for the amusement of a mysterious somebody who gets his or her kicks from sitting in front of a wall of TVs watching dozens of mostly boring video feeds.
Of course this whole contrivance is designed to facilitate the moment when the secret cameras catch a glimpse of Carly unhooking her bra and drawing a bubble bath. I vividly recall Janet Maslin's 1993 New York Times review of this scene, in which she pens one of the great euphemisms of our time, describing how Sharon Stone is seen "emoting furiously in a bathtub." Boing!!! And ladies, if that doesn't do it for you, perhaps you'll enjoy the scene in which Billy Baldwin works out his butt in the gym. Director Phillip Noyce's camera will leer at anything that clenches and unclenches with a steady rhythm.
While Carly's energetic struggle to conquer her sexual repression may be enough to attract some viewers to the newly released unrated DVD, keep in mind that her moans and groans are surrounded by a creaking and confused plot, a boring gaggle of co-stars, plenty of dimwitted dialogue, and a profoundly flawed conclusion. You may walk away thinking that it would have been more fun dancing with the devil over at Rosemary's place.
Just a little piece, please.
Run time: 108 mins
In Theaters: Friday 21st May 1993
Box Office Worldwide: $116.3M
Distributed by: Paramount Home Video
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 23
IMDB: 4.9 / 10
Director: Phillip Noyce
Producer: Robert Evans
Screenwriter: Ira Levin, Joe Eszterhaus
Starring: Sharon Stone as Carly Norris, William Baldwin as Zeke Hawkins, Tom Berenger as Jack Lansford, Polly Walker as Vida Warren, Colleen Camp as Judy Marks, Amanda Foreman as Samantha Moore, Martin Landau as Alex Parsons, Nina Foch as Mrs. McEvoy, Keene Curtis as Gus Hale, Nicholas Pryor as Peter Farrell, Anne Betancourt as Jackie Kinsella, C. C. H. Pounder as Victoria Hendrix, Philip Hoffman as Reporter #2
Also starring: Robert Evans
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