1994 / Director. Gary Marshall.
20 years before '50 Shades of Gray' got housewives all over the world wet, author Anne Rice wrote a series of erotic novels, one of which was Exit To Eden. At a time when the world of fetish was widely taboo, these novels explored S&M in an honest way. The book was about a young man who spends several weeks at a private S&M resort where he falls in love with his domonatrix. It was a straight forward story of passion, love and lust. The same cannot be said about the 1994 movie adaptation from director Gary Marshall (Pretty Woman, Beaches). Rather than capturing the essence of Rice's novel he has turned it into a cheeky and lampoonish romp. For some absurd reason he created a whole new thriller aspect to the story, which shifts the main focus of a romance into a police caper. Two cops narrate the story as they go undercover at the resort to catch a diamond smuggler. It really makes a mockery of the world of which Anne Rice was exploring and it's not a fair representation of her work. Understandably she distanced herself from the film. Having said that... if you watch Exit To Eden without any of the backstory in mind, it's a fun and outlandish comedy. The acting and script are hokey but there's enough cheeky laughs to make it enjoyable. It's a case of being so bad, its good. When you let go of the fact you are watching Rosie O'Donnell in bondage gear (it's a big ask) then you might get a kick out of Dan Aykroyd playing a prudish perv and the ludicrous submissive gags. The movie has garnered a cult following over the past 20 years and is a guilty pleasure if you embrace the kitsch.