Body of Evidence

(USA 1993)

“That’s what I do. I fuck. And it made me eight million dollars.”

—Rebecca Carlson

As true blue a Madonna fan as I am, I haven’t bothered to see a considerable number of her movies. Uli Edel’s Body of Evidence is one of them (she has top billing here, so yes, it’s a Madonna movie). On a ridiculously cold and rainy Saturday night, I decided to change that when I saw it showing on cable. Now that I’ve seen it, what surprised me most about Body of Evidence is that it’s actually not that bad. To be clear, it’s not good—it’s fluffy erotic fromage designed to be “provocative,” a sort of lame Basic Instinct (as if that’s a good movie)—but it’s not quite the disaster I expected.

Madonna is Rebecca Carlson, a femme fatale accused of slipping cocaine into her older lover’s nasal spray and “fucking him to death”—i.e., arousing him to the point of inducing a fatal heart attack. Willem Dafoe is her defense attorney. Of course, he gets involved with her despite his happy marriage to Julianne Moore.

Brad Mirman’s writing is pretty basic; his script feels a lot like a Law & Order episode, skipping through real life things like discovery and motions in limine to get right to the court stuff. I half-expected to hear that clang sound between scenes. His dialogue is often silly and, as demonstrated above, at times cringeworthy.

The promotional poster for Body of Evidence promises to make Fatal Attraction and the aforementioned Basic Instinct “look like Romper Room;” it doesn’t. The candle wax scene is kinda hot, but that’s it. The cast is impressive, but sadly no one gives a remarkable performance. Moore’s role, one of her first in a major studio release, is so small it’s background. Madonna pretty much plays Dita, her alterego from her Erotica album and Sex book, both of which came out just a few months before Body of Evidence. Her acting isn’t good, but somehow she comes off slightly less wooden than any character from her earlier movies, even A League of Their Own. Her look is exactly the same as in the video for “Bad Girl.” I’m not sure what Dafoe or Joe Mantegna, both good actors, saw in this project.

Body of Evidence is ultimately a forgettable snooze of a film. If it’s offensive at all, it’s because it’s boring.

With Anne Archer, Lillian Lehman, Stan Shaw, Charles Hallahan, Mark Rolston, Jürgen Prochnow, Frank Langella

Production: Dino De Laurentiis Communications, Neue Constantin Films

Distribution: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (USA), Guild Film Distribution (UK)

99 minutes
Rated R

(Impact) D+

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