Type-casting is insidious. Leonard Nimoy, for instance, will always be Mr. Spock. Loretta Swift will always best be known as M*A*S*H’s “Hot Lips” Hoolihan. And Sharon Stone, no matter what else she does, will always best be remembered for luxuriously flashing Michæl Douglas in “Basic Instinct”. Better that than this listless clunker.
Stone is Gloria, the tough, mouthy main squeeze of ruthless mobster, uh, Kevin (Jeremy Northam). She took the rap for him and served three years in the pen for it. Just released, she shows up to collect, only to find Kevin and his goons holding Nicky Nunez (Jean-Luke Figueroa), a cute seven year old whose accountant dad was getting cute with the Mob’s money. So, they rubbed out the whole family except Nicky, who nearly escaped with that ever-popular McGuffin; a computer disk containing incriminating evidence on the Mob. Gloria soon realizes Kevin’s gonna stiff her and kill Nicky, so she rescues the kid and he grabs the disk back. They’re on the run from the Mob, they bond, the end.
The most annoying thing about this film is that as soon as you say the title, you get that annoying Laura Branigan song stuck in your head. (You’re humming it now, aren’t you?)
Other annoying things about this unnecessary remake by Sydney Lumet — John Cassavetes first made it the early 80’s — are its utter predictability, surprising amateurishness, and totally uninspiring performances. Stone’s nasal New York drone is beyond irritating and there’s painfully little chemistry between her and young Figueroa. Even George C. Scott disappoints as Ruby, an aging Mafia don. Like everyone in the film, he appears to be just making stuff up to get through the scene, collect a paycheck and go home.
“Gloria” might pass as a Movie of the Week, but as a theatrical feature, no way. Sure Sharon Stone looks great. (One rating star is just for her in that black slit-up-to-Cleveland number she wears out of prison.) But hell, if you just want to see Sharon Stone’s legs — and then some — save yourself some dough and some grief and go rent Basic Instinct. – Merle Bertrand