Want to track how well your watch keeps time? Go see this dud of a thriller, and you'll be checking your wrist constantly.
A half-cocked Hitchcock wannabe, the film never seems to end, zapping you with plot twists, each more ridiculous and farfetched than the last and each with a hole so big you would think the script had been worked over by the Washington Redskins' offensive line.
Gere plays a San Francisco psychiatrist, who is treating a pouty young woman with a history of incest (Uma Thurman) and, through her, begins haying steamy sex—but with only one onscreen scene—with her va-va-va-voomish older sister (Basinger). Sis's husband is a sadistic gangster (Eric Roberts) and, given that Basinger gets a very special twinkle in her eye when he says with mock exasperation, "You kill me," it comes as no surprise when she does just that. Gere aids her in working up an insanity plea, and that's when things get complicated and nasty—and terminally tedious.
Director Phil (State of Grace) Joanou borrows heavily from '40s film noir for style and atmosphere but fails to duplicate those movies' hard-edge snap and speed. Basinger, a devotee of the wrinkled-brow and crinkled-nose school of acting, is particularly unimpressive, and Gere seems muted, showing little of the ingratiating pizzazz he mustered for Pretty Woman. (R)