Fatal Attraction 2.0 stars

A powerful deterrent to adultery, or indeed to meeting anyone new in any circumstances whatever. Its basic premise -- to do with the casual sex partner who afterwards refuses to make herself (or himself, it could just as well be) scarce -- is rooted deeply enough in emotional reality that it can bear up under any and all rhetorical and metaphorical exaggerations here: the slit wrists, the parboiled pet rabbit, the abducted child, etc., etc. It can even bear up under comparisons to the considerably similar and considerably better Play Misty For Me. Enough time has gone by since 1971 to more than warrant an update, and never will enough time have gone by to fade the universal truth of the matter: you shake someone's hand only at risk of finding out it's flypaper. And the addition of a wife and daughter to the Play Misty scenario is a sufficient variation as well as modernization: the cautionary tale for the Promiscuous Seventies will want a new emphasis for the Neo-Monogamous Eighties. The premise cannot and does not bear up so well, however, under unrelieved impoverishment of narrative imagination, specifically under heavy dependence on phone calls and more phone calls: unsettling, threatening, pleading, nagging, harassing, haranguing -- what next? But whatever amount of initial interest, through whatever size of sprung leak, might trickle away throughout the repetitious course of the movie, the ending of it, with its telegraphed assaults and tomtommed buildup to them, won't short-change you. If anything, it over-changes you, especially when it comes to that new convention, not confined to certifiable boogeymen or Bug-Eyed Monsters from Space, whereby it's no longer sufficient to kill off the villain only once. Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer; directed by Adrian Lyne. 1987.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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