Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Frank Review of "Exit to Eden" (1994)

The Short Version? Cops after crooks on S&M island.
What Is It? Romantic Comedy.
Who's In It? Rosie O'Donnell, Dan Aykroyd.
Should I See It? No.

Having made a killing off his direction on Beaches and Pretty Woman, Garry Marshall rewarded himself with a T&A fest. Still, he couldn't let go of his situation comedy roots, so he adapted Anne Rice's erotic sadomasochistic romance into a Harlequin romance, overly seasoned with an entirely invented buddy cop subplot... involving Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd in fetish gear. Never mind that Marshall didn't seem to know the first thing about BDSM, and his island paradise looks like it was being defended off-camera by Ator, the Fighting Eagle. A tone deaf, stupid, dull, laugh-less, erection eradicating spectacle followed. As has been mentioned elsewhere, this movie stunk on ice, so I'll mostly focus on counting the ways.

Paul Mercurio was meant to be the next Patrick Swayze after Strictly Ballroom, but turned out more like Don Swayze, only with a less impressive resume. He's strictly awful here-- mugging for the camera, charmless, unconvincing, and not even particularly cute. How anyone with brain cells could fall for this idiot, I'll never know, but he's still working.

I had a serious crush on Dana Delany during her years on China Beach, and she's great at playing an Irish hardcase with a guilty conscience. She would have been perfect for the role of the female investigator, and I still hold out hope she'll land on a decent CSI incarnation like Marg Helgenberger one of these days. As a dominatrix, and especially some sort of queen domme? Fat fucking chance, though I appreciated the not-occasional-enough full frontal nudity. She's okay during flashbacks to her initiation, but even then she's trying to play way younger than rings true, and her delivery is strictly cornball.

Hector Elizondo provides the only gravitas here, as a master with the right presence and tools. Of course, he has about four minutes of screen time, most of it scored with "Sadeness (Part I.)" John "Bo Duke" Schneider in a cameo as a top? Not so much, but he only has about a minute of same, sans Enigma (though take heart, the band do return.)

Surprisingly, I don't hate Rosie O'Donnell. She's obnoxious and unfunny, but that's what people pay her for. If you eat at McDonald's, how can you blame the fry cook for your lousy meal? Meanwhile, Dan Aykroyd is not obnoxious, but his unfunny was even stronger than O'Donnell's. Again, his filmography immediately prior to production included North, My Girl 2, and Coneheads. His most recent highlight was Dragnet. Duh.

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