Wild Orchid

The Devil Says

Skip It

(Until someone edits the nude scenes together as a music video)

Attempting to capitalize on the success of 91/2 Weeks, Mickey Rourke, writer Zalman King, and producer Mark Damon try their luck at another erotic tale of mind-fucking over real fucking, and roll craps. Rourke drags along his then lady-love, Carré Otis, who no one will ever confuse for an actress, and the two demonstrate that whatever chemistry they may have had in real life was not transferable to the screen. But then they are stuck in an incomprehensible mess, with nonsensical scenes and ridiculous dialog that is worse than stupid; it’s dull.

Otis (a model-turned-model-who-happens-to-be-in-a-film), who no one will ever confuse for a lawyer, plays Emily, a shy, repressed, international lawyer. Somehow, she’s gotten a law degree, learned multiple languages, and worked for a firm in Chicago, all while appearing to be eighteen (Otis was twenty-one). She does wear glasses from time to time, so she must be smart. Leaving her home in the middle of nowhere, she’s immediately hired to go to Rio by Jacqueline Bisset (best known for her wet T-shirt style in The Deep), who almost creates a character—but in this film, why bother? Otis is tossed into one incoherent situation after another, some with sexual aspects, by Rourke, who is supposed to be a suave, rich, international, land developer. Ummmm.  OK, I'll say it: No one will ever confuse Rourke with a suave, rich, international, land developer.  As Otis becomes more sensual, she must overcome Rourke’s dislike of physical contact…or not. It’s not as if anyone watching will care.

Everyone in Wild Orchid is interested in sex. They are fascinated by it conceptually. They are obsessed by its philosophical and psychological implications. They are captivated by its architecture, its mechanics, and how many candles you should light before having it. And they can’t stop talking about all of that, unless they are posing intently for a close-up. Do you know what is sexy? Two people having sex. Do you know what isn’t? Two people speaking in a monotone about sex. This is a film where someone needs to yell at… everyone, “Stop talking and just do it!” There’s surprising little nudity for a movie where no one can go two seconds without mentioning how males and females fit together.

Some of the sex scenes might have been hot had they not been repeatedly interrupted by a bored Mickey Rourke spewing meaningless psycho-sexual mumbo jumbo. There’s a beautiful nude body, but the camera zips away to examine Rourke’s nose hairs. And he normally isn’t even part of the action. I guess King thought this was deep—Emmanuelle as conceived by Freud. It isn’t. And why would anyone want it to be?

Bisset plays it over-the-top, but is the only named character who shows signs of life. Otis is one step from a mannequin while Rourke appears to have died six months before shooting (which would explain why his skin has been painted orange). The background dancers are good, and appear to be having fun. That’s something.

Setting aside all the worn sexual insights, Wild Orchid needs to excite the viewer. It doesn’t. The actors don’t look like they can even spell the word passion. They just look sleepy.

Sins (What does this mean?)

Pride Everyone has ego problems, so you could claim there’s a statement in there somewhere about liking yourself and false pride. Probably not.
Sloth Otis and Rourke do look like they are napping.
Avarice Everyone is rich, but it doesn’t bring happiness. It does give you free time to drive around in limos talking about sex.
Gluttony Fine dining, a bit of drinking, and lots of dancing. It is Carnival.
Aesthetics Otis is beautiful. And there are a few nice shots of Rio, the ocean, and the populace dancing.
Surrogate Cruelty One unsatisfying fight.
Thought Nada
Humor Only unintentional. Deadly serious, this film needs a joke so that it isn’t one itself.
Lust Four sex scenes: unknown couple in ruined building, German couple in limo, Otis and Bruce Greenwood, and Otis and Rourke. The first is too short, and the second has too much Rourke. Otis shows off her breasts a few additional times. There’s a naked man who gets tossed out of the room before he can grapple with Otis, and there are random shots of naked Carnival dancers. It doesn’t add up to much.


Buy It


Film Info

Directer: Zalman King

Writers: Patricia Louisianna Knop, Zalman King

Producers: Tony Anthony, Lester Berman, Mark Damon

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Carré Otis, Jacqueline Bisset, Bruce Greenwood

Runtime: 111 min