Exit to Eden (1994)
Whose moronic idea was it to take Anne Rice's erotic novel, Exit to Eden, and graft an idiotic, caper comedy onto it? Presumably it was director Gary Marshall's. God forbid he should try to direct a serious film. Instead, he figured he could keep coasting on the success of Pretty Woman and do anything he pleased. Twenty plus years later, he's still trying to find that next hit.
It's really a shame, too, because when Exit to Eden does keep things serious, it is effective. It's the whole lame comedy aspect and the brain-dead caper that cause it to fail. Plot thread one involves Australian hunk Paul Mercurio exploring his interest in S&M bondage by travelling to Eden, an island resort catering to those fetishes. Plot thread two follows cops Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd as they try to bust a diamond-smuggling ring of which Mercurio possesses photographic evidence of. Mercurio goes to Eden, the smugglers, led by Iman, follow Mercurio, and O'Donnell and Aykroyd follow the smugglers. The one complaint never levied against Anne Rice's novel was that it didn't have enough diamond smugglers.
The two threads clash uneasily against each other, jerking the audience back and forth; those who wanted the screwball comedy became uncomfortable with the serious scenes, and those wanting a straight-forward exploration of the subject matter got bored with the generic smuggling plot.
The good moments, and there are a few, involve the non-comic elements of Exit to Eden. Dana Delany is the Mistress of Eden and she takes a shine to Mercurio and becomes his trainer and then they fall for one another. The scene where Delany ties Mercurio up and spanks him could've garnered bad laughs, but it actually succeeds with erotic heat. Another is a flashback where Delany herself is introduced to the S&M world by Hector Elizando that also works quite well. In fact, the relationship between Delany and Mercurio is well-played and acted and should've signalled to all that this was the direction the entire movie needed to go in. But, at heart, Marshall is a lightweight, and the lousy, uninteresting comedy simply overtakes the whole project.
Marshall, O'Donnell, and Aykroyd's careers survived after Exit to Eden flopped, Delany's was put on life-support and Mercurio, unfortunately, disappeared back into obscurity (much like European beauty Jane March, whose career also died before it began with the erotic Bruce Willis debacle, Color of Night, from the same year).
Now, if only a director with the cojones to do the novel justice was given a chance at a redo...