There are exactly two good things about 9 1/2 Weeks: its soundtrack and Kim Basinger’s smokin’ hot bod. Oh, and Mickey Rourke still has his face, so that’s pretty fascinating, but beyond that there’s not much to recommend it. It’s all sex and mind games and one dumb blonde chick named Elizabeth.
Elizabeth (Basinger) is a smokin’ hot divorcee who goes on a walk and sees a scarf that is too expensive. John (Mickey Rourke), who has been lurking in the shadows and watching her creepily, purchases the scarf for her. It’s, like, $300, so she goes home with him. Then she gets this weird vibe and you can tell she thinks the whole thing is a little off, so she leaves. But she goes back again, you know, like you do when you’ve just avoided being pulled into a van by a kidnapper or wrestled free from the clutches of a rapist.
And so begins the most nonsensical affair of all time. John makes unsettling demands like, “take off all your clothes so I can look at you” or “go put your hands against the wall and turn around so I can spank you”, and for about two seconds Elizabeth is appropriately offended, but then (most of the time) she just does what he says. Pretty soon she finds herself giggling down her sweater at the thought of him or touching herself at work, because man, a guy like that can really drive a girl wild. She confides to her best friend that this affair is hardest because with most men, there’s something about them that you know will be the deal breaker, but with this one… gosh, he’s just perfect! What could possibly happen to end this beautiful romance? It’s too painful to think about! Her best friend smiles conspiratorially and suggests perhaps it’s true love.
Ah yes, John and Elizabeth are the epitome of true love. You can tell it’s the real thing by the way John says he does not care to meet Elizabeth’s friends, by the way he leaves her in his apartment while he hooks up with another woman and then punishes her for peeking in his closet, and, of course, by the humiliation she endures both in public and in private. As if being told to spread your legs while testing out a mattress in front of a salesperson is somehow cute if you just laugh like a moron and pretend you’re part of the joke. It’s all pretty funny until you say the whole thing and is just a game and John makes it very clear that “it” is no game to him—you are.
You might think the absurdity of the relationship could be saved by all of the steamy sex scenes, but you would be wrong. Though Kim Basinger looks pretty god damn hot doing most things, there is very little going on in Nine 1/2 Weeks that you’d want to try at home. Elizabeth is all, “Yes! Blindfold me in front of the fridge and feed me random grapes, strawberries, maraschino cherries (or whatever), champagne, hot peppers, and a jug of milk! That will be sooo much fun until I get a big stomachache and go throw up in your bathroom. Please can we go have a quickie in a dirty alleyway while questionable sewer water dribbles over us? And above all, can you always leave your pants mostly on, so I can enjoy your zipper and belt with every one of your animalistic thrusts?” Gross. Why again does she keep going back for more? Is it because all of this debauchery is taking place against a backdrop of fun songs by Devo, The Eurythmics, Corey Hart, John Taylor, Bryan Ferry and Joe Cocker?
This last question is never really addressed by the film. Elizabeth has a decent job at an art gallery, and every once in awhile the thought of her ex-husband dating her best friend seems to make her a little sad. Perhaps she remembers a time when being with a man meant having an actual two-way conversation or going on a Sunday drive instead of holing up in a dark apartment with a personality-less control freak who feeds you, bathes you, and has his way with you whenever (and however) he pleases. If this is a consideration, she casts it aside until she has a nervous breakdown at a gallery opening and finally leaves John’s sorry ass. Wah wah.