“Paradise” is your average self-discovery story. Girl is sick of old life. Girl goes to have fun. Girl finds herself and is finally happy. If you’re looking for something else, turn away now, “Paradise” does not veer off of a standard predictable track. Despite its predictability and lack of a “wow” factor, it wasn’t all bad; the chemistry between the three main characters kept me entertained (or maybe I’m just a sucker for Russell Brand). Either way, the group dynamic helped overcome the dull and uneventful plot.
From God to Vegas…
Lamb Mannerheim is a 21 year old girl from an extremely religious community in Montana where girls must remain pure in every sense of the word – you can’t even wear pants. After a terrible accident involving a plane, Lamb is left with scars all over her body. Turning away from God and her family she decides to experience worldly pleasures for the first time in Sin City. There she meets William Carr (Russell Brand) and Loray (Octavia L. Spencer), her partners in crime and her friends throughout the movie.
“There is no God!”
Lamb Mannerheim is meant to give her testimony about how God saved her after her terrible accident in front of her church community at the beginning of the movie, but instead declares there is no God and bids her home goodbye for Las Vegas. At this point I had a lot of hope for the film, I had a few laughs at Lamb’s neurotic mother (brillantly played by Holly Hunter) when she was trying to creep up to the front of the church to stop Lamb’s blasphemous speech. Her father, played by Nick Offerman, also provided a few laughs as he is a perfect complement to Holly Hunter’s craziness. I wish the pair had a bigger part in the film because their chemistry and comedic timing was impeccable.
“I want as much liquor as possible”
We get to the meat of “Paradise” when Lamb gets to Las Vegas, ready to drink, dance and have the fun she was never aloud to before. We first meet Russell Brand’s character at the bar where he serves drinks. His performance, although similar to all his other performances was more tame then his usual crazy self. He has many fast-talking one liners, over analyzations of situations and inappropriate comments all delivered in his all too charming Essex accent. If you like Russell Brand, you will like him here too. He seems to fit the persona of a bar tender. I mean, I wouldn’t mind being served drinks by Russell. I’m sure he’d be able to help you talk through any problem while looking like a sexy Jesus.
Julianne Hough, Russell Brand and Octavia L. Spencer all delivered in this movie. They all had great chemistry, especially Brand and Spencer, and each succeeded in their comedic efforts. So then why wasn’t I impressed?
The plot, had potential to uncover a beautiful self-descovery story but unfortunately lacked depth of any kind. Halfway through the movie we learn Lamb’s fiancé died in the plane crash she was in, this was mentioned once and never brought up again. It could have been an interesting and moving plot point but was simply thrown in carelessly.
Writer-director Diablo Cody (Academy Award (R) winner for Best Screenplay, Juno, 2007) was lucky her cast was talented and funny because her script definitely did not hold up. Although “Paradise” possessed come touching and funny moments it lacked a “wow” factor. It was dull yet delightful. As soon as the movie ended I knew I wasn’t going to remember it a year from now, sorry guys.
My Rating: 5/10