Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
The film is for horny pups of all ages who relish the memory of reading stroke books under the covers with a flashlight. Verhoeven has spent $49 million to reproduce that dirty little thrill on the big screen.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
Beneath its heavy-breathing fripperies, though, Basic Instinct is mechanical and routine, a muddle of Hitchcockian red herrings and standard cop-thriller ballistics.
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USA Today

By Mike Clark
The film never makes total sense, but at its best (the first half-hour), it comes closer to solidly junky titillation than the hapless Final Analysis. [20 Mar 1992, Life, p.1D]
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TV Guide

The worst things about Basic Instinct, though, are the explicit "love" scenes. They're supposed to contribute to a heady equation in which sex, violence and psychology are fused; instead, they're gratuitous, exploitative, and entirely unerotic.
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
Uninvolving. Even the sex is boring. Are these scenes supposed to be wildly erotic? If they are, they don't work. [20 Mar 1992, Daily Notebook, p.D1]
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
The film is like a crossword puzzle. It keeps your interest until you solve it. Then it's just a worthless scrap with the spaces filled in.
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There’s still a guilty pleasure to be had in the ludicrous sex scenes (either we’re doing it very wrong, or Sharon Stone suffers from the most melodramatic orgasms known to womankind) and in Michael Douglas’ spectacular tank tops, of course.
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Christian Science Monitor

By David Sterritt
Verhoeven's lurid thriller has moments of welcome self-parody, but most of the action manages to be sensationalistic, homophobic, and tedious at the same time. [20 Mar 1992, Arts, p.12]
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Chicago Tribune

By Dave Kehr
Verhoeven does not explore the dark side, but merely exploits it, and that makes all the difference in the world. [20 Mar 1992, Friday, p.C]
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The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

By Jay Scott
A perverse, lame-brained thriller that is pornographic, misogynist and homophobic. If that makes it sound appealing, I should also add that it's silly, boring and intellectually insulting.
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34 out of 100
Generally unfavorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.