We gave it a B-
In Terry Southern’s ”Blue Movie” — a novel dedicated to ”the great Stanley K.” — a genius director concocts a big-budget Hollywood stag film. But as Southern, who cowrote ”Dr. Strangelove,” surely knew, Stanley Kubrick could never have created a porno utopia. His ”Lolita” is a grim burlesque, ”Strangelove” a doomsday joke on the reproductive urge. Of course, Alex’s drive to ultraviolence and his impulse to the old in-out are indivisible in ”A Clockwork Orange”: In his morbidly comic way, the late Stanley K. always mingled fear and desire.
Thus, Eyes Wide Shut is an awkward meta-fantasy — equal parts daydream depravity and nightmare deprivation. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise play a bourgeois couple, and one night, after smoking a joint, after the husband tries to initiate foreplay, the wife picks a fight, which leads to her disclosure of repressed lusts, which leads to his embarking on an odyssey through an erotic underworld, which may or may not be a dream. The only sure thing is that this beautifully shot movie plays pristinely even on TV. Flimsy and ponderous, lush and austere, ”Eyes Wide Shut” adheres to its destabilizing looking-glass logic and nothing else but. A genius director concocts a big-budget Hollywood stag film: a blue movie in a blue note.