Wild Orchid (1990) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Wild Orchid is a poor movie by objective standards. It is completely brainless, totally miscast, and the star has absolutely no acting ability.
  • Ignore the plot. It does have a plot of some kind, but the writers pretty much lost interest in the storyline, and so did I. Oh, yeah, the dialogue is unintentionally hilarious as well.
  • Mickey Rourke was miscast as some kind of sensitive but free-wheeling land speculator with a psycho-sexual dysfunction to work through. Not to mention an addiction to Coppertone Self-Tanner.
  • Carre Otis's acting was, for lack of a better word, rudimentary. She did improve as the film progressed, but she was embarrassingly stiff and unnatural in the opening interview, as if she were reading her lines monotonously from cue cards. She was supposed to be a top law school graduate with a mastery of several languages, even though she was 21 at the time, looked 16, and acted 12! She makes Sylvia Kristel seem to be as mature and profound as Samuel Beckett.

So why do I love this film?

I grant you that the film would suck if it had no sex and nudity, but it does have sex and nudity - great sex and nudity - and you can't just ignore it. The film itself is only a minor factor in evaluating an experience with these plusses:

  • Carre Otis, in the days before her various dependency and weight problems, looked magnificent, a cross between Liv Tyler and Laetitia Casta.
  • The photography is consistently beautiful, in the sex scenes and otherwise.
  • There is plenty of sexy Brazilian music.
  • There is lots of sex and nudity, not just from the principals, but from dozens of others on the beach and in Carnival.
  • The DVD provides clear looks at all the nudity.
  • There are 7 minutes of additional footage in the unrated version. (The r-rated version is also on the same disc). That additional footage mostly consists of Rourke and Otis boffing their hearts out, and it looks like real lovin'!
  • Two words: Jacqueline Bisset.

So what if the rest of the movie movie stinks?

If you only watch movies for plot or characterization or dialogue or good acting, take this back to Blockbuster and get The Bostonians. On the other hand, if you are interested in frontal nudity from a beautiful woman photographed beautifully, with plenty of sexy and pretty atmosphere shots and sensuous music to round it out, then give this one a try. It is one of Zalman King's very best "erotic entertainments for couples."


DVD info from Amazon.

  • two widescreen anamorphic versions: r-rated (105 minutes) and unrated (112 minutes)


  • Carre Otis shows everything (in the unrated version) in some sex scenes.
  • Bruce Greenwood shows his penis and butt in a scene with Otis.
  • Assumpta Serna showed her breasts in an extended scene.
  • Anya Sartor did full-frontal nudity in a sex scene
  • Jacqueline Bisset was braless beneath a t-shirt
  • Several other cast members were naked, and many incidental street and beach scenes showed still more nudity.

The Critics Vote

  • Ebert 1/4

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: $11 million domestic gross
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+, based on the genre of "erotica for couples." It is a sexy movie. Rated as anything else, or absent the nudity, it would be an "E" - technically sound but completely brainless and uttlerly miscast. Tuna comments: "Wild Orchid (1990) proves once again that Zalman King knows a thing or two about making erotica. The story is not entirely uninteresting, the photography is breathtaking, and there is plenty of nudity. Scoopy rated it properly as a C+. Take away the nudity and it wouldn't be worth watching, and it has nearly no crossover appeal, but, as erotic entertainment, it is one of the better ones, and will appeal to women as well as men."

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