"Fatal Instinct" is a parody film from the early '90s directed by Carl Reiner that takes aim at the 'erotic thriller' genre popularized by films such as "Fatal Attraction" and "Basic Instinct". It's a spoof that doesn't take itself seriously for even a second, and therein lies both its charm and its challenges.
Armand Assante plays Ned Ravine, a policeman turned lawyer who's blissfully unaware of his wife's infidelity. Assante leans into the absurdity of his character's cluelessness with complete commitment. His performance is genuinely funny, exhibiting the right level of comedic timing and physical comedy the film demands.
The standout performance, however, comes from Sean Young, who plays the dual role of Ned's cheating wife, Lana Ravine, and his secretary, Laura Lingonberry. Young displays an admirable knack for comedy, deftly balancing her dual roles' contrasting personas.
"Fatal Instinct" thrives in its best moments by playing with clichés, tropes, and expectations, delivering laugh-out-loud moments that surprise and delight. It's in these instances, when the film gleefully skewers the erotic thriller genre's conventions, that the comedy really lands.
That said, "Fatal Instinct" sometimes misses the mark. Some of the jokes feel forced or dated, and the relentless pace of the humor can become tiring. The film's plot, a necessity in the genre it mocks, is overcomplicated and at times nonsensical.
On a technical level, the film does an excellent job of mimicking the genre's visual style it parodies. From its use of shadows and smoke to the saxophone-heavy score, "Fatal Instinct" captures the look and feel of an erotic thriller.
In conclusion, "Fatal Instinct" is a mixed bag. It's a hilarious, albeit somewhat uneven, spoof that provides plenty of laughs, especially for fans of the genre it satirizes. Despite its flaws, the film's humor and performances make it worth watching.