There's a good idea floundering about in "Chain of Desire," a too-obvious metaphor for AIDS — and ultimately, literally about AIDS — that follows the motif of "Slacker," "Twenty Bucks" and, going even further back, "The Yellow Rolls Royce." What those films have in common is that the story moves from character to character, focusing on the next person in the link rather than on any central character.

The linking device for "Chain of Desire" is, essentially, sexual contact — though that link seems to be broken a time or two, thereby making the film's conclusion superfluous.

"Chain of Desire" begins with singer/exotic dancer Linda Fiorentino, who gets mysterious phone calls entreating her to call back . . . calls she chooses to ignore, of course.

After she has a one-night stand with a married painter she meets in a church, the film follows the painter and we meet his wife. The next day, the painter's wife is sexually harassed by her employer and quits her job. Then the former employer has a kinky fling with another woman (Grace Zabriskie), who later tries to excite her sexually repressed husband (Malcolm McDowell), who is actually homosexual . . . and so it goes.

The film is salacious, of course, though the sexuality is well within R-rated parameters, but it is also dreadfully dull. None of the vignettes here seem to have any point and they aren't amusing or dramatic enough to be in the least bit compelling.

In fact, the entire film was so dull and pointless that I walked out after an hour, and I'm told it didn't get any better after I left.

"Chain of Desire" is not rated but would get an R for sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity, drug abuse and violence.