Dana Delany stars as Lisa Emerson (named Lisa Kelly in the book) and Paul Mercurio plays Elliot Slater. Half of the film consists of a new comedic detective story line written by the director. Several new characters were also created, including Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O'Donnell as police officers pursuing diamond thieves to the Eden resort.
Elliot Slater is a young, attractive, Australian professional photographer living in Southern California. Having always been uncomfortable with his sexual proclivities, which tend toward the BDSM realm, he signs up for a dominatrix-themed vacation on a private tropical island known as "Eden" in the hopes of working through his discomfort.
Unbeknownst to him, before embarking on his journey of sexual discovery, he has unwittingly photographed an international jewel thief of whom no other photos exist. The jewel thief Omar and his criminal partner Nina are intent on recovering the film in order to retain Omar's anonymity.
They follow the photographer to the island resort run by the dominatrix, Mistress Lisa Emerson, posing as vacationers. Following a tip that Omar is on the island, undercover police officers Fred Lavery and Sheila Kingston also arrive, Sheila in the guise of a vacationer and Fred as a handyman.
Comedic antics ensue amid the activities of scantily clad guests and employees, acting out their dominant and submissive fantasies.
In the course of Elliot's experiences as Mistress Lisa's personal submissive, including a scene where she ties him up and fondles his naked body (especially, his bare buttocks), the two begin to fall in love. The action comes to a climax on a quick trip to New Orleans, where Lisa reluctantly admits her feelings for Elliot, all the while tailed by Omar, who attempts to kill them.
Fortunately, Fred and Sheila save the day, sending Omar and Nina to jail, and receive commendations for solving the case. Elliot returns to Eden and proposes to Lisa, who says yes.Dana Delany as Lisa Emerson
Paul Mercurio as Elliott Slater
Rosie O'Donnell as Sheila Kingston
Dan Aykroyd as Fred Lavery
Hector Elizondo as Dr. Martin Helifax; credited "As usual Hector Elizondo".
Stuart Wilson as Omar
Iman as Nina Blackstone
Sean O'Bryan as Tommy Miller
Stephanie Niznik as Diana
Phil Redrow as Richard
Sandra Taylor as Riba
Julie Hughes as Julie
Laura Harring as M.C. Kindra
Deborah Pratt as Dr. Williams
Laurelle Mehus as Heidi
Tom Hines as Nolan
Alison Moir as Kitty
James Patrick Stuart as James
Rosemary Forsyth as Mrs. Brady
John Schneider as Professor Collins
Donna Dixon as Fred's ex-wife
The whips used and shown in detail were created by Janette Heartwood. This was the last film produced by Edward K. Milkis before his death in 1996.
The film garnered attention during its release because of the BDSM themes, full frontal female nudity (including Delany), and because of the high profiles of the director, cast members, and the author. Promotional materials for the film included photos of Delany in dominatrix attire.
It was generally panned by critics, who expressed disappointment and confusion about the combination of the original story and the comedic elements. The film maintains a 6% "rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film 1/2 star out of four possible stars.
One controversy occurred when it was initially banned by the Saskatchewan Film and Video Classification Board. Critics were puzzled by the banning, as Saskatchewan was the only jurisdiction known to have kept the film out of theaters. After a brief media flurry, the Board lifted the ban a week later.
O'Donnell won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress for this film (also for The Flintstones and Car 54 Where Are You?) and Aykroyd earned nominations for Worst Supporting Actor (also for North) and both O'Donnell and Aykroyd as Worst Screen Couple.
The film was released on VHS tape (NTSC) in May 1995, on DVD (NTSC Region 1, 4:3 Full Frame) in April 2002 and on (PAL Region 2) in 2003 (German Version "Undercover Cop" with German and English language sound). The U.S. DVD is currently out of print. Universal has re-released the film as a Manufacture on Demand DVD. It is unspecified if it is still 4:3 or if it is Widescreen.