There are some laughs in "Fatal Instinct." But there are an awful lot of dead spots in between.

Maybe that has something to do with the three "Basic Instinct" spoofs that we've already had this year - in "Hexed," "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1" and "Hot Shots! Part Deux." After all, how many jokes can be made about a Sharon Stone character not wearing panties.And in Hollywood's more-is-better style, "Fatal Instinct" goes after every recent psychosexual thriller that has made an impact in recent years, and at least one from Hollywood's golden era, "Double Indemnity."

Some of the more specific areas of spoofery pass right over most of the audience. In fact, a case could be made that "Fatal Instinct" was made more for movie critics and buffs. Who else is going to have seen all these movies?

One of the film's best elements is casting "straight" actors instead of comics in the lead roles, led by Armand Assante as a cop/lawyer, who arrests criminals by night and defends them in court by day. Assante is having great fun and it's almost infectious.

Of the three femme fatales with whom he tangles - Kate Nelligan as his shrewish, scheming wife (Barbara Stanwyck from "Double Indemnity"); Sherilyn Fenn as his loyal, efficient secretary (Julia Roberts from "Sleeping With the Enemy"); Sean Young as the sexpot who hires Assante but harbors a dangerous secret (combining Sharon Stone from "Basic Instinct," Glenn Close from "Fatal Attraction" and Kathleen Turner from "Body Heat") - Young comes off best, both sexy and funny.

The plot, merely a clothesline on which to hang a steady stream of hit-and-miss gags, has Assante being approached by Young to take on a mysterious case, then becoming the object of her wrath. Nelligan, meanwhile, is plotting to murder Assante for his life insurance. And Fenn, hiding from a crazed husband, is in love with Assante.

Assante, meanwhile, plays a cross between the dense "Body Heat" lawyer and the "Pink Panther's" Inspector Clouseau.

The performers are game, and the screenplay by David O'Malley (TV's "Mork and Mindy") does provide some scattershot laughs. But no pun is too obvious, no sight gag too silly and no cliche too vulgar (flatulence is used as a joke not once, but twice). And after a while, there are just too many that don't click.

Director Carl Reiner ("Oh, God!" "The Jerk," "All of Me") even steals a couple of gags (involving background music and a crashing camera) from his old partner Mel Brooks' "High Anxiety."

Come to think of it, Reiner already spoofed this genre much better with "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," which had Steve Martin playing opposite the likes of James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart in their most famous movies.

In the end, "Fatal Instinct" is just another "Airplane!"-"Naked Gun"-"Hot Shots!" parody movie, and we've already had too many of those this year. If it were funnier, we might not mind so much.

"Fatal Instinct" is rated PG-13 but should carry an R, primarily for sex gags, as well as violence, vulgarity and partial nudity.