9 1/2 Weeks (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Whoa! A film nominated for several razzies which also got three and a half stars from Roger Ebert. Huh?


Kim Basinger showed her breasts in some scenes, and her buns in another.
That gives you an idea of the kind of controversy which has always surrounded director Adrian Lyne. Is there any director who generates more discussion with his films? Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, Lolita, Flashdance. I suppose in every one of those cases, there were reviewers who found them to be exploitative junk and other reviewers who found them to be masterpieces. When Indecent Proposal came out, even people who never saw the film discussed whether a woman should have taken the deal (a million bucks for a night with Robert Redford). When Fatal Attraction came out, feminists and moralists defended the persistence of the psycho bitch from hell as a deserved comeuppance for Michael Douglas's sexual dalliance. And Lolita - fuggitaboudit.

I think that Lyne is a bit of a poet. His favorite subject, like many or most poets, is love. And his recurring them is that love magnifies everything. It makes the rain and snow seem beautiful and sensuous. It makes the food and wine taste better, the music sound sweeter, the stars shine brighter, the laughter louder and giddier. Those are the positives. It also magnifies the doubts, the disappointments, and the pain. It most often ends in intense sadness for one or more parties. In Lyne's world, people crave love, exult in its mysteries, bathe in its embrace, but almost always end up sadder. Look at the characters in Lyne's films. In Lolita, Humbert Humbert pays for his lust with love sickness, and Quilty pays with his life. In this film, Rourke and Basinger end up in tears. In Faithless, Diane Ladd's lust ends up causing her lover's death and turns her gentle husband into a homicidal maniac. In Indecent Proposal, Redford ends up sad and alone in his enormous mansion. In Fatal Attraction's original ending, later changed, Close ends up dead and Douglas ends up being arrested for her murder (she framed him).

I have mixed feelings about the film. Except for Jacob's ladder, which I love without reservations, I think that Lyne's praise and his Razzies are equally justified. Mickey Rourke as a Wall Street wheeler-dealer? Sure, I'll buy that. If the only other trader is Anna Nicole Smith. Yup, that Mick is a real corporate exec type. If you met Mick at a party, asked him what he did, and he told you he was a Wall Street shark, what would your reaction be? Assume he's trying to act as Wall Streety as possible, to the utmost limits of his histrionic capabilities. See what I mean? It would be about the same reaction as if you met Woody Allen and he told you he played in the NBA. Why didn't they just rewrite the script to make the Mickster a rich gangster? Oh, well, it doesn't really matter. This film isn't about character development, or Wall Street. The backgrounds of the characters don't really even matter.

In a way, this is one of Lyne's stranger projects because, although he brought artistic sensibilities to it, the script was written by erotic schlockmeister Zalman King, who is famed for erotic soap operas (Wild Orchid, Two Moon Junction).

This film is a study of the passion which builds and destroys a relationship. The very qualities that make the man sexually exciting - his aloof need for complete dominance without vulnerability, his willingness to dedicate himself completely to his fantasy world - also make him incapable of loving, or at least of expressing love in a coherent way.

DVD info from Amazon.

Tuna says: It is an indifferent letterbox transfer, mastered from what is obviously a well-worn and grainy distribution print, complete with dirt specs and chips. Someone needs to get King, Rourke and Basinger together for a commentary, and do an anamorphic remaster from good source material.

Of special note, however, I nominate their sex scene on the alleyway steps in the rain as the single sexiest scene I have ever seen, period. Not among the sexiest, but the sexiest. And the ice cube scene was pretty cool, as well.

I think I should give you fair warning that this is an erotic chick-flick. Men usually find the sex scenes to be unfinished teases, while women find this to be about the right balance between explicitness and romance. The film is rated higher by women than by men in every single age group at IMDb.

That is either a pretty good reason to see the movie, or a reason to avoid it, depending on your preferences.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three and a half stars. Ebert 3.5/4, filmcritic.com 4/5

  • Nominated for three Razzies: Worst Actress (Kim Basinger) , Worst Original Song - For the song "I Do What I Do", Worst Screenplay

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: $7 million domestic gross.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna says "While it lacks pace, it does provide several highly erotic scenes and some good exposure from Kim. The characters could have been fleshed out more in my opinion. C+". Scoop says "C+, I guess. It's a draggy movie, but if you want to see a truly sexy scene, it has my all-time favorite."

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