Exit to Eden (1994)


I am particularly attracted to odd genre-crossing experiments that fail. When they work, the reasons why are too tied to the mysteries of perception to tease out. Like explanations of the economy, they are all speculations bound to be bogus. But failures are easier to understand and appreciate.

Gerry Marshall has accumulated some heavy karma by leading the transformation of TeeVee comedy from clever to attractively insipid. His formula was to find some niche of ordinary humanity, turn it into an endearing morsel by poking gentle fun at it in the context of general wackiness.

As time goes on, the wackiness becomes more strained and the poking more frantic, but still ever gentle. This cross between a sitcom and a sexually colored chic flick fails because of that gentility. The rest of the humour world would have been more ruthless in exploiting one side (usually the sex side) or the other.

On the Club Med side, consider Peter O’Tooles comment in “Club Paradise“ that he doesn’t want to sit in any of the chairs because of the abundant fluids therein. Or look at the more recent sitcom bondage synthesis, the very good “Secretary”.

Or even the bondage scenes in “Romance”, which are the only ones that have that Hal Hartley-inspired distant humour to them.

One story follows our purveyors of whack, Rosie and Dan, neither of whom know just what the target is supposed to be. The other story — in the other genre — is a traditional date movie wrapped in an abstract world. It has little to do with actual sex, and even less with real master-submissive dynamics and perversions.

It exists — along with all sorts of complicated baggage about guests and “citizens” — only to support a few jokes, and a surprising few indeed. One is Iman’s only reason for being here: a faux humping of her (as a thin Natasha) and Rosie (as a winking dumpling).

How much sweeter this would have all been if we knew and exploited Rosie’s own alternative sexual identity.

Posted in 2003

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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