Sex surrogacy clinics serve as the setting for many contemporary thrillers, and even Mickey Spillane might be shocked by what goes on at the Callister Sex Institute. Unfortunately, SINS OF DESIRE features a disproportionate amount of sex and not nearly enough thrills.
When Monica Waldman (Gail Harris), one of sex therapist Scott Callister's (Jay Richardson) drugged patients, won't calm down after being raped while unconscious, he accidentally kills her. What Scott and his bisexual wife, Dr. Jessica Callister (Delia Sheppard) don't realize is that burying
Monica won't protect their operation. She was investigating the clinic for her boss, private eye Barry Mitchum (Nick Cassavetes), the mystery man who has been dogging Callister's steps.
The Callisters' problems multiply: they kill Warren Robillard (Jan-Michael Vincent), with whom they concocted an insurance scam, after he fails to murder Mitchum, and Kay Egan (Tanya Roberts), goes undercover as a nurse to investigate their Sexual Healing Center after her sister, a former
patient, commits suicide. Although initially angry that she endangered him by revealing his whereabouts to the Callisters, Mitchum and amateur sleuth Kay join forces to expose the clinic and avenge their departed loved ones.
While searching the grounds for a tape recorder left by Monica, Kay bumps into Jessica and agrees to have sex with her so that Mitchum will have more time to snoop. When the evidence on the recording proves inconclusive, Mitchum co-ordinates a sting, but at a clandestine meeting, Scott knocks
out a policeman and incapacitates Mitchum. Running for her life, Kay has a cat fight with Jessica, whose husband accidentally shoots her. After eluding him in a tunnel, Kay uses an underground passage to sneak past Scott and then run him over with a car, thus ending the Callisters' life of crime.
As soft-core porn film with a plot, SINS OF DESIRE provides adequate titillation, helped enormously by the tongue-in-cheek performances of Delia Sheppard and the mischievous Jay Richardson; their randy interplay suggests the patter of a form of sexual vaudeville. But the forgettable Cassavetes
and faded Tanya Roberts are no match for their villainous candlepower, and several scripting sins help destroy this overheated detective story's credibility. While there's nothing wrong with Kay having sex with Jessica in order to give her partner some snooping time, Kay's sacrifice is presented
so casually that it borders on the absurd. What else would she do to crack this case? And why does Kay so blithely give away Mitchum's whereabouts--doesn't she know how evil the Callisters are? Couple these out-of-left-field plot twists with numerous over-extended sex scenes, and one sloppy crime
thriller emerges. Reservations aside, the heavy-breathing set will enjoy this bedroom mystery simply because there is so much activity at the sex clinic. If only the film's makers had realized the crime solving techniques and sexual exploration needn't be mutually exclusive. In SINS OF DESIRE,
deducing always takes a back seat to seducing. (Extensive nudity, profanity, substance abuse, graphic violence.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: NR
- Review: Sex surrogacy clinics serve as the setting for many contemporary thrillers, and even Mickey Spillane might be shocked by what goes on at the Callister Sex Institute. Unfortunately, SINS OF DESIRE features a disproportionate amount of sex and not nearly eno… (more)