VIDEO REVIEW : Prince Bares His Lust for a Hit

The emperor has no clothes.

Actually, Prince is wearing much more than most of the female extras who take part in the simulated orgy(ies) in his new, five-song “Gett Off” videocassette (directed by Randee St. Nicholas), an exceedingly steamy “maxi-video” compilation due in stores today. But his ambition is naked enough.

If it worked for Madonna . . .you can almost hear the Formerly Purple One thinking, trying to justify his lust for the hit that’s eluded him in recent years.

A press release notes that the principal “Gett Off” clip (already seen in edited form on MTV and BET) was inspired by the movie “Caligula.” Indeed, anyone who has appreciated the photographic oeuvre of that film’s producer, Bob Guccione, will be sure to enjoy the hard-to-follow ineptitude of the filmmaking here, with few of the repeatedly promised “23 positions in a one-night stand” visible among the murky cast of dozens


The eight-minute “Gett Off (Houstyle)"--one of four additional clips that Prince promises won’t be shown on MTV--is more a tribute to soft-core auteur Zalman King, as Prince ditches the orgy and takes two women back to his place in blindfolds. Only “Gangster Glam” breaks from the monotonously hypersexual riff, with its focus on natty clothes and expensive cars.

If Prince hadn’t previously proven himself a brilliant innovator and thrilling performer, this juvenalia might seem more negligible. But even the music seems disturbingly derivative, with the Minneapolis Canary borrowing from the realm of hit hip-hop instead of striking his own new ground.

And the raciness is retrograde, too. A few years ago, Prince scrapped the infamous “black album” that celebrated raw lust, supposedly because it represented only the more base, unspiritual side of his personality. Funny how he has no problem selling pure, adulterated sex--sans the religious trappings--now that he’s gone without a bestseller for so long.