"91/2 WEEKS" might be notorious for its sex scenes, but it's most notable for its gourmet groceries. A series of sordid sexual videos propel Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger through an angry affair, with time out for some of the world's best-looking fruits and vegetables.
In fact, Rourke and Basinger cause a refrigerator to self-defrost in the movie's freshest scene. She leans against the crisper, while he feeds her chic crudit,es. The camera focuses on her rambunctious tongue (we can just about make out her tonsils) as she relishes red peppers, hot peppers, strawberries, strawberry Jell-O, cherries, cherry tomatoes and cherry cough syrup. Afterward, Rourke hoses her down with Perrier and covers her in honey.
The studio may hope "91/2" will do for honey what "Last Tango" did for butter. But it's not even that sexy. Director Adrian Lyne of "Flashdance" tests the boundaries of sensual acceptability, but all he comes up with are Obsession ads, unreal and surprisingly tame designer pornography.
Basinger dons the obligatory garter belt, but the movie only hints at the handcuffs that bind her to Rourke, a sadistic svengali who draws her ever deeper into this perverse relationship. Creepy and greasy as Rourke has been in past roles and distasteful as his part is here, he still comes off as a rather likable fellow -- whips, blindfolds and ice cubes notwithstanding.
And Basinger, a demure art dealer, is ravishingly beautiful as she is manipulated by this Wall Street type who lures her with expensive gifts, balloons, flowers and the usual trappings of seduction.
But the story of submission and degradation never climaxes. A critical segment was excised when preview audiences objected to a scene in which Rourke fed Basinger sleeping pills in a little fun with suicide. So as it stands, the ending and Basinger's redetion come out of nowhere.
The director does have a sleek, visually strong style, but the scenes are often absurd, degenerating into vapid videos. And the story doesn't handle obsession nearly so well as last year's "Dance With a Stranger," nor is it as scary as the "Collector," nor as compelling as "Last Tango in Paris."
The actors are never consumed by their passion. And after a while, we're sick of this lip-smacking, finger-sucking, scary-talking fun and games they play.
On and on it goes. Like the man said, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. By my count, including the time under the drainpipe in the alley, the rape on the dining room table, and not counting her masturbation scene, there are seven sex scenes.
Frankly, it gets as tiresome and degrading to watch as it no doubt was to make. You feel smutty and depressed for days after this tawdry night at the movies.