Stars: 2 of 5.
Running Time: 101 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Willem Dafoe, Madonna (DICK TRACY), Joe Mantegna (HOUSE OF GAMES, HOMICIDE), Frank Langella (MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, FROST/NIXON), Julianne Moore (SAFE, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE), Anne Archer (FATAL ATTRACTION, SHORT CUTS), Jürgen Prochnow (TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, DAS BOOT), Charles Hallahan (THE THING, VISION QUEST). Written by Brad Mirman (HIGHLANDER III, THE GOOD SHEPHERD). Music by Graeme Revell (SIN CITY, CHILD'S PLAY 2).
Tag-line: "An act of love, or an act of murder?"
Best one-liner: "It's not a crime to be a beautiful woman." ALSO: "It's not a crime to be a great lay!"
As promised, BODY OF EVIDENCE is amazingly bad. And it's the sort of bad movie that I don't realllly ever need to see again, not ever. That's not to say that there's no gold here. There is definitely some gold. Joe Mantegna discussing nipple clamps. Frank Langella somberly elucidating how Madonna fingering herself drove him wild.
Langella hangs his head in shame. Mantegna closes his eyes and pretends it's a Mamet picture.
Willem Dafoe declaring the self-evident truth, "It's not a crime to be a great lay." Julianne Moore doing that whole 'anguished wife' routine.
"How did you get those candle wax burns? TELLL ME!!!"
There are a lot of great actors here who were happy to collect a paycheck and then head for the fuckin' hills. Then there's Madonna. Madonna is not a 'great actor.' She's probably at her best in DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN, where the role cleverly called for her to only ‘look cool’ and keep the talking to a minimum. Here, she's talking a LOT, and she's trying real hard to be ‘sexy.’
Welcome to Sexytown, U.S.A. Population: Madonna. And why is a heavenly choir playing? Well, in my opinion, that unanswered question finds resolution nearly 20 years later with 'ANTICHRIST.'
And the forced sexiness is utterly macabre. The pacing is EXCRUCIATING. How long can we watch Madonna alternatingly pour hot wax and champagne on Dafoe's nipples as stock, steamy Spanish guitar plays? Well, watch the movie and find out.
Dafoe is a goddamned trouper.
DAMN this movie is so KINKY and FORBIDDEN. It depicts scenes involving HANDCUFFS, CLOTHES-RIPPING, and other such HANKY-PANKERIES!
Sometimes a mere picture is worth one thousand words.
Madonna cops a feel. Dafoe's look says it all.
Wait one minute! Whose manly hand is whose?
Madonna prepares to smash a light bulb and then have sex on top of it. I think BODY OF EVIDENCE was hoping to instill a Pavlovian reaction within the viewer where broken glass = arousal. If that's the case, you probably shouldn't watch TOTAL RECALL right afterward.
Anyway, I forgot to mention that all of this accompanies a legal thriller. The trial is overseen by an incredibly sassy judge who is always insisting that "I will not allow this trial to become a circus!," but it always does anyway.
"I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS TRIAL TO BECOME A CIRCUS!!!"
The spectators are those same eternally muttering, easily shocked people from every courtroom drama who mumble "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb" into their cupped hands every few minutes. Whew.
There's an awesome vintage featurette on the DVD which has all manner of trite sound bites like Madonna saying "She's a complicated woman- I can relate to that" and a sold-out Mantegna remarking that "we only have phenomenons like [Madonna] at certain intervals in history." However, Dafoe stands fast when asked about the Material Girl: "She's always investigating, uh, new things." Ha!
Madonna tries new things, the likes of which we haven't seen since at least DICK TRACY.
Mantegna informs Dafoe of the forthcoming sequel: BODY OF EVIDENCE II: HARDBODIES.
P.P.S. And don't worry, Willem, this sort of thing happens to the best of 'em.