I watched 9½ Weeks the other night for the first time since 1986 and I have one question.
It’s about a newly divorced woman who gets into a dominance-and-submission relationship with a mysterious stranger. After a while, though, she gets tired of their games and tells him to go fuck himself.
Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s there was a spate of movies about how our society’s love/hate relationship with sex makes people crazy. Sex, Lies and Videotape. Dangerous Liaisons. Fatal Attraction. Basic Instinct. Jade. Disclosure. Sliver. The Color of Night. They were all marginally erotic—and thoroughly unromantic.
Sex, Lies and Videotape was about a guy who couldn’t get off with an actual woman. Basic Instinct theorized that repressing homosexuality could lead one into an alternative (psychopathic) lifestyle. Disclosure and Fatal Attraction warned histrionically about sexuality in the workplace—and threw in a recipe for rabbit stew.
No one had any idea what Jade, Sliver and Color of Night were about, but Dangerous Liaisons featured people wearing wigs, so I am genetically incapable of understanding any of it, except where Keanu Reeves says, “Whoa.”
For some reason I remembered 9½ Weeks fondly. Maybe it was how good Kim Basinger looked in a business suit. Then again, every woman looks good in a business suit, so maybe it was the scene in which ice is dripped onto the Basinger belly. Or the one in which Basinger goes solo in Soho. Or where Basinger bags the benjamins as she crawls across the floor.
Hot. Hot. And kinda hot, but you probably wouldn’t admit it if you wanted to run for president someday. Still, keeping those scenes and junking the rest would have made for a fairly compelling six-minute movie.
I know, you’re thinking, “But, Dave, the scene that had everyone talking was Mickey Rourke pushing olives, cherries and Jell-O past those luscious lips and dumping milk and mustard all over Basinger’s bodacious bod.”
My take: Like the sex-in-the-sink-with-the-dirty-dishes scene in Fatal Attraction, this scene is, shall we say, icky.
Some critics call 9½ Weeks a “self-destructive romance” that explores darker aspects of human sexuality. But any time a man in a movie says to a woman he hardly knows, “Will you take off your dress?” and she does, I’m only left wondering, “What the—?”