The new indie drama Shame, which opens in limited release on Friday, certainly earns its NC-17 rating, what with the full-frontal nude shots of its leading man and lady (Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan), as well as several prolonged and ultra-revealing sex scenes and its frank depiction of sex addiction. Despite all of this erotically-charged content, the movie itself isn't particularly... well, sexy. That's largely intentional of course, as director Steve McQueen is clearly more interested in stroking moviegoers' intellect than their libidos. The same can't be said of the following movies from the past two decades, all of which were designed for maximum titillation value, but turned out to be about as erotically-challenged as Zooey Deschanel's latest Manic Pixie Dream Girl on New Girl. And we're not talking about soft-core Skinemax titles, which are un-sexy in their own distinct way. These were all studio releases with big (or semi-big) name actors and actresses pretending to get it on for our benefit. Really guys, you shouldn't have. No, seriously... you shouldn't have.
Sliver (1993)/Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
Erotically Challenged Couple Sharon Stone and Billy Baldwin/Sharon Stone and David Morrissey
Blame it on Sharon Stone. After she flashed her lady parts to a roomful of cops (and audiences all over the world) in 1992's Basic Instinct, Hollywood spent the rest of the '90s and a good part of the '00s trying to recreate the success of that genuinely erotic erotic thriller. Two of those attempted recreations starred Stone herself; released a year after Basic Instinct, Sliver casts her as a book editor that moves into a New York City high-rise and starts a torrid affair with the handsome creep (Baldwin) that's wired all of the apartments with hidden cameras, the better to record his conquests. While Stone had actual chemistry with her Basic Instinct co-star Michael Douglas, she and Baldwin seem profoundly unattracted to each other and the movie's ridiculous plot contrivances make the whole thing play more like a comedy than a sexy whodunit. Over a decade later, the actress returned to the franchise that made her famous with the long-delayed, ill-fated Basic Instinct 2, which dispatched bisexual author Catherine Tramell to London, where she once again became the prime suspect in a murder case and screwed the cop assigned to mind her. Botoxed beyond belief, Stone more closely resembles a Madame Tussauds wax figure than an actual human and wax just ain't sexy.
Least Sexy Line: "You've been spending too much time with your vibrator." (Sliver)
"I'm devastated. I may never cum again." (Basic Instinct 2)
Body of Evidence (1993)
Erotically Challenged Couple: Madonna and Willem Dafoe
The third installment in Madge's unofficial "Sex Trilogy" from the early '90s -- which also included the controversial photo book Sex and the album Erotica -- Body of Evidence cast Madonna as a widow that's put on trial for literally screwing her elderly husband to death. As if that's not ridiculous enough, the film pairs her off Willem Dafoe, a great actor, but decidedly not a sex symbol. The movie reaches its nadir when one of their bouts of kinky lovemaking climaxes with Madonna dripping hot wax all over Dafoe's nether regions. Like we said... wax ain't sexy.
Least Sexy Line: "Have you ever seen animals make love, Frank? It's intense. It's violent. But they never really hurt each other. "
Color of Night (1994)
Erotically Challenged Couple: Bruce Willis and Jane March
Notorious at the time for being the film where Bruce Willis showed off his Lil' Bruce, Color of Night again follows the increasingly tired Basic Instinct playbook, casting the Die Hard star as a shrink who gets involved with a sex-crazed mystery woman (March) that may be a killer. The overqualified supporting cast includes Lesley Ann Warren and Scott Bakula, while Billy Ray -- who would later write and direct the acclaimed films Shattered Glass and Breach -- co-wrote the screenplay. And while Willis' bravery in baring all didn't earn him an Oscar nod, Color of Night did win one prestigious awards: the Golden Razzie for Worst Picture of 1994.
Least Sexy Line: "You stick your dick in a barrel of barracudas once, maybe you won't lose it. You leave it in there, it's gonna get chewed off at the root."
Erotically Challenged Couple Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan
Let's be clear: We love Showgirls, particularly when viewed late at night with a group of people that have every howler memorized. But despite the copious amounts of well-toned flesh on display, the movie has zero sex appeal. It's all about the intentional (and unintentional humor) inspired by Berkley's wooden line-readings, MacLachlan's bemused expression, Gina Gershon's gonzo performance and I-can't-believe-I-just-saw that sequences like Berkley's infamous lapdance, where she grinds on MacLachlan with all the finesse of a water buffalo. Erotic? Hell no. Endlessly entertaining? Hell yes.
Least Sexy Line: Too many to count, but "You got low self-esteem baby, you're a fantastic fuck" sums up the movie's singular appeal in a nutshell.
Original Sin (2001)
Erotically Challenged Couple Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie
Long before Brad, Maddox and her international humanitarian work, Angelina Jolie was a wild child actress that had little aversion to on-screen nudity, showing skin in movies like Gia, Pushing Tin and this period drama about a Cuban coffee empresario (Banderas) who gets more than he bargained for when he sends away for a mail-order bride (Jolie) with a dark past. Jolie's frequent nakedness was enough to get critic and famous appreciator of the female anatomy Roger Ebert all hot and bothered, writing in his three-star review, "Her presence is like a dare-ya for a man." But The Hollywood Reporter offered a more accurate summation: "The combination of a smoldering Banderas and a simmering Jolie generates as much heat as a 40-watt bulb."
Least Sexy Line: "Whore! Liar! Thief! Don't you see? Don't you see that I cannot breathe without you? I cannot live without you? Don't you see that?"
Killing Me Softly (2002)
Erotically Challenged Couple Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes
The final nail in the coffin of Heather Graham's brief bid for big-screen stardom, Killing Me Softly casts the former Rollergirl as an American living abroad in England, who falls under the spell of a handsome mountain climber (Fiennes) that takes her to new heights in the sack. But it turns out that this guy isn't quite right in the head, having potentially gotten rid of one of his ex-lovers and carrying on a too-close relationship with his sister. The two leads seem as baffled by plot's various twists and turns as the audience, which probably explains why their make-out sessions are so stiff and unconvincing.
Least Sexy Line: "Love isn't just a good fuck, you know?"
In the Cut (2003)
Erotically Challenged Couple Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo
Murder may not be a turn-on for most folks, but the thought of serial killer practicing his trader in her neighborhood is hot enough to send a repressed high school teacher (Ryan) into the arms and bed of a gruff New York City cop (Ruffalo). Originally developed as a vehicle for Nicole Kidman, Ryan took on the role instead as a way to erase her squeaky-clean rom-com image. Ultimately though, her fake orgasm from When Harry Met Sally proved hotter than any of the stimulated sex in this movie.
Least Sexy Line: "The still waters of the water under a frond of stars. The still waters of your mouth under a thicket of kisses."
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