A cop (Caruso) is investigating the murder of a tycoon, most likely by a prostitute named Jade. Psychologist Trina Gavin (Fiorentino) is sourced to assist the investigation. Not only is the cop attracted to her, but she may also be the the killer.
Whether Linda Fiorentino is a big enough name on which to bank a big studio glossy is questionable, but by teaming her with Caruso and Palminteri, uberproducer Robert Evans must have felt he'd hedged his bets sufficiently, especially with Friedkin at the tiller. In the event, Fiorentino acquits herself well as another icy femme fatale, but it matters little as the film is undone by its cornerstone: a script by Joe Ezsterhas that is so shameless a parody of his own Basic Instinct it would be embarrassing, were it not salvaged by some slick and stylish direction.
Events go something like this: a big-wig gets butchered during some kinky sex; the DA brings in an investigator David Corelli (Caruso); and the suspect, a rich psychologist/author Trina Gavin (Fiorentino) - with whom the investigator is in love - is brought in for questioning. The suspect doesn't uncross her legs this time, there's no need, we've already seen plenty of pubic hair, a murder clue being a locket full of the stuff and inscribed with a Chinese motif - "Jade" - the name of a hooker who may or may not be Gavin.
Even the clifftop Californian homes evoke Basic Instinct as Caruso tries to nail the killer - running up against Trina's lawyer hubby, Matt (a wooden Palminteri) - though at least the gradients of San Francisco allow for the film's highpoint, a stunning car chase, possibly the best on film since Friedkin's own French Connection.
Trashy though it was, Basic Instinct worked because you always felt Michael Douglas could turn round and wink at the camera any minute. Jade makes no similar effort, but with the laughter from Showgirls ringing in his ears, Ezsterhas makes too much money for a little criticism to stop him peddling his vision of femalekind. In fact, in the time it's taken you to read this, he's probably bashed out another one.
Jade tries so hard to be a serious, lush noir but, like the cheap sex it revels in, it is ultimately a hollow, anti-climactic experience.