I don’t get it. The same week that the authoritative new study Sex in America appears, announcing that the gigantic majority of Americans lead average sex lives of quiet faithfulness, Exit to Eden (Savoy, R) appears, announcing that what we really want to see, in our deepest fantasies, is Dana Delany (China Beach) as Mistress Lisa, a dominatrix on a fantasy island, dressed in leather, chains, and garters like a boarding-school girl playacting in her dorm room. Exit to Eden assumes that there is transporting delight to be had in extreme close-ups of the cantaloupesque buttocks of Paul Mercurio (Strictly Ballroom) as Elliot, a guest on the island who falls for Lisa; that jokes about water retention, hernia exams, and the physical endowments of Dan Aykroyd (as an uptight undercover cop) are surefire gut busters; and that, if all else fails, the sight and wiseacre sounds of Rosie O’Donnell as a mouthy fellow cop will make us forget just what a misbegotten, ’70s-style mishmash of bosoms and PMS jokes this sodden Emmanuelle-lite caper really is.
Do we really need to see this ”sex comedy” from Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall — a sad-assed thing that is neither sexy nor funny? As Sex in America is my witness, I don’t think so.
What’s really odd is, while novelist Anne Rice was fretting about the movie adaptation of her Interview With the Vampire, this bomb was being made — it’s a loose adaptation of one of the erotic novels she writes under the name Anne Rampling — without a peep of protest. What’s really funny is, even though Delany has been flogging this Bad Girl act of hers in the press up the wazoo, O’Donnell is the one who deserves the credit for providing the few wet-noodle lashes of wit that occur. And what’s really telling is, at the end of Exit to Eden, Lisa and Elliot find their deepest, most dangerous pleasures with their clothes on, planning a marriage. Sex in America rests its case. F