Thursday, February 20

O’Donnell shines in comedy


O’Donnell shines in comedy

By Lael Loewenstein

Okay, we admit it. We made a mistake. Despite our prediction
that it would rank as one of the worst films of the fall, "Exit to
Eden" is a deft, hilarious and at times very erotic comedy.

The idea of Rosie O’Donnell and Dan Aykroyd visiting a sexual
fantasy island peopled by women in dominatrix outfits and men in
dog collars seemed about as cheesy as it gets. Not to mention that
the thought of O’Donnell in bondage gear was pretty scary.

Although the plot is about as thin as the dental floss that
passes for string bikinis on the island, it doesn’t really matter.
Director Garry Marshall extracts so much humor from sexually
charged situations that the audience is too busy laughing to pay
attention to the absurd storyline.

O’Donnell and Aykroyd play cops tailing two diamond smugglers to
Eden. Sexually repressed, (the word "tampon" makes Aykroyd’s skin
crawl) they’re the last people who should go to this island resort.
The thugs, in turn, are chasing a photographer named Elliot (Paul
Mercurio).

But Elliot is busy flirting with Mistress Lisa (Dana Delany),
Eden’s equivalent of Mr. Roarke. Lisa has a penchant for spanking
men’s derrieres. Elliot has the same fetish. And that’s how they
spend their first date.

It’s pretty tame stuff ­ there’s no body-piercing or
bloodletting. Director Marshall, after all ,made a dark script
about a hooker into "Pretty Woman."

Marshall has a gift for comic relief. Just when the film seems
to descend into soft core territory, he cuts to the unexpected.
Mistress Lisa spanking Elliot with a hairbrush is juxtaposed with a
shot of Dan Aykroyd watching a Doris Day movie.

O’Donnell practically steals the picture. If there were ever any
doubts that Rosie O’Donnell is a gifted comedienne, "Exit to Eden"
lays them to rest.

There is a feeble attempt to explain, through flashback, why
Lisa got involved in S&M. These scenes seem curiously out of
place. But the rest of "Eden," with its unique blend of comedy and
erotica, is well worth a visit.

MOVIE: "Exit to Eden." Written by Deborah Amelon and Bob
Brunner. Directed by Garry Marshall. Starring Rosie O’Donnell, Dan
Aykroyd and Dana Delany.

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