If Wild Orchid aims to grab audiences with a hot-house atmosphere of erotica, it mainly teases until a pay-off in the last sequence.
Claudia (Jacqueline Bisset) is a wired jet-set businesswoman who hires tyro lawyer Emily (Carre Otis) to help her close a deal. Prim Emily, a Midwest farm girl still wet under the collar – but highly attractive – is dazed to find herself on a plane to Rio. There she meets Claudia’s old flame Wheeler (Mickey Rourke), a self-made millionaire with perverse sexual tastes. Hypnotizing Emily with his original personality (?), he forces her to forget her good-girl upbringing and do liberating things.
What doesn’t work is the hold Rourke is supposed to have over Otis. Looking pudgy and puffy-faced, with a little gold earring, he is anything but an appetizing sex object.
As Emily, Otis really is hypnotically attractive, but she plays the still-waters-run-deep country beauty with expressionless immobility. Bisset, always a class act, here bubbles over with caricatured joie de vivre.
As for eros, only when Emily breaks through Wheeler’s reserve/importence in the last sequence does pic deliver in a torrid, highly choreographed but equally explicit bedroom session between the two.