Movie InfoWriter-director Diablo Cody (Academy Award (R) winner for Best Screenplay, Juno, 2007) delivers this hilarious tale of innocence lost and paradise found, starring Julianne Hough (Safe Haven), Octavia Spencer (Academy Award(TM) winner for Best Supporting Actress, The Help, 2011) and Russell Brand, Get Him to the Greek). After a nearly fatal accident, 21-year-old Lamb Mannerheim (Hough) is beginning to realize that the world is much bigger than her small, God-fearing Montana town. Armed with a big, fat insurance payout and a checklist of untried sins, there's only one place for her first taste of temptation...Las Vegas! Now this wide-eyed, innocent girl will have to navigate the bright lights, seedy bars and dark alleys of "Sin City." And, with the help of a few new friends (Brand and Spencer), Lamb just might survive her strange adventure and discover what it means to really live. Holly Hunter (Academy Award winner(TM), Best Actress, The Piano, 1993) and Nick Offerman (TV's "Parks and Recreation") also star in this oddball odyssey of lost souls, broken faith and cheap cocktails...a true journey of the heart. (c) RJ Entertainment … More
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Critic Reviews for Paradise
The movie goes nowhere, and Ms. Cody's screenplay is relentlessly talky while standing still.
Cody's satiric knocks on Christians couldn't be more blundering and obvious. Yet her dialogue is often funny, and the unusual three-way friendship is refreshing.
The script needed another draft. And the screenwriter needed another star - and a real director.
Cody has concocted a modern-day "Alice Through the Looking Glass," with none of the danger or wit.
The problems with "Paradise," Diablo Cody's first directing effort and fourth produced screenplay, begin almost immediately ...
Cody is an intermittently wonderful screenwriter but the fully realized characters and silver-needle wit of "Juno" and "Young Adult" are nowhere to be found in her debut as writer/director.
Paradise is far from a bad start, but it's not the introduction Cody was probably capable of making.
"Paradise" is a very bland and forgettable film, which is not something you expect from Diablo Cody even on her bad days.
An eminently compelling slice-of-life made all the more enjoyable by Julianne Hough's irresistible turn as the sympathetic, multi-shaded Lamb.
To me, a film about Las Vegas should never be boring. And that's what disappoints me most about 'Paradise.'
Savagely satirizing evangelical culture while pretty much not substituting anything else - unless you count Vegas as the proposed cure in question - in Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody's directing debut. In other words, sorry Paradise, you're no Juno.
Cody's fresh coming-of-age story keeps pulling back from blossoming into something a bit magical.
Hough sleepwalks through Cody's worst effort to date as a writer and only supporting turns by the always-game Russell Brand and never-bad Octavia Spencer save the film from being a strong candidate for the worst of the year. It still comes close.
An intriguing premise, but the execution is a bit faulty, and it doesn't ultimately add up to much.
Julianne Hough and Octavia Spencer give it their all, but uncharacteristically dismal writing from Diablo Cody leaves Paradise dead in the water.
Paradise may be a movie paved with good intentions, but between its meandering nature, surface exploration of religion and roster of forgettable characters, it's more like motion-picture perdition.
Diablo Cody has a new movie... but you'd hardly know it was her work, for all the bite it lacks.
Diablo Cody should've written a better script for her directing debut, or at least used her Oscar-winning instincts to not choose this one... isn't in the same snarky-lark league as Juno, nor as comically raw as Young Adult.
A Vegas-set dramedy that begins as a spikey comedy only to evolve into precisely the kind of banal, self-improvement seminar that one of Cody's edgy heroines would snark endlessly through.
Some laughs and nice performances, but Diablo Cody's directorial debut -- affecting in spots -- too often reveals its shaky, obvious underpinnings.
Audience Reviews for Paradise
You're courting irony when you name your movie Paradise, as well as pained movie critic puns, but I had faith that Diablo Cody, stepping into the director's chair for the first time, would entertain, especially after her best screenplay yet, 2011's Young Adult. The problem with Paradise is that it goes just about nowhere and it's shockingly bland, a criticism I never thought I'd have for a Cody-penned work. The premise starts off strong, with Lamb (Julianne Hough) as a devout Christian living a sheltered existence until the day she becomes the sole survivor of a plane crash. Her body covered in burns, her faith shaken to its core, she embarks on journey to Las Vegas to sin it up big time. It's snarky and satirical, and then she gets to Vegas, she meets some nice new pals (Russel Brand, Octavia Spencer), and they hang out and... that's about it. The Lamb character is meant to be a naďve but ultimately nice person, but she's portrayed as vaguely racist thanks to Cody's simple skewering of fundamentalism. Where are the sharp characters and incisive wit of Cody's past efforts? The comedy almost dissolves as it goes and you realize that intriguing premise is never going to be realized. And then the third act happens and it feels like the film just gives up, unearned sentimentality takes control, and the characters all find unsatisfying conclusions. The characters aren't given enough material, often left adrift in a plot-free environment of self-discovery. A misguided scene where Lamb pours her heart out to a former prostitute could work as a summary of what tonally doesn't work with this movie. There are some funny moments, even some affecting ones, but Paradise doesn't feel like it has a sophisticated voice and clear direction. Coming from Cody, I wouldn't have expected those two chief complaints.
Nate's Grade: C
Charming and Heartfelt.
Enjoyable Movie! While I did like the movie and I am glad I watched it, it wasn't really what I would call a laugh-out-loud comedy. This is from the writer of Juno and the comedy is more that style. This is almost a bi-polar movie. One minute you are laughing and smiling the next you are depressed. This is good but be prepared for that. Overall, a good movie that is worth watching but be prepared for the roller coaster.
Lamb Mannerheim's faith is shaken after a plane crash burns two-thirds of her body, and she shocks her small-town congregation when she publicly renounces God. As she sets out to experience the worldly pleasures of Las Vegas, she meets a bartender and a cynical lounge singer who help her check off as many dirty deeds as possible from her Napkin of Sin bucket list.
A supposed inspirational comedy, Paradise tries to bring some heart to its satire. After renouncing her faith a burn victim takes off for Las Vegas to experience life for the first time, and along the way she meets a bar tender and a lounge singer who offer to guide her on her journey. Julianne Hough leads the cast and brings a certain charisma to her performance that lightens up the film. And, Russell Brand gives a strong supporting performance that serves as good comic relief. However, the film seems a little confused about what it's trying to say. Paradise is a bit of fun, but it doesn't really go anywhere.More
Diablo Cody has more than proven her worth as a screenwriter, with "Juno" and "Young Adult" under her belt, but taking on the role of writer and director may have been too far of a stretch. In her latest satire, "Paradise", Cody's paper thin veneer is almost hard to stomach at time, feeling less like a script written by an Oscar winner and more like one written by a college student. Following a paint-by-numbers narrative about a gorgeous young Christian girl named Lamb (Julianna Hough) heading to Las Vegas in search of debauchery after a plane crash leaves her "disfigured" and rolling in settlement cash, she denounces her religion and looks to experience life in all its glory. Lead by bartenders played by Russell Brand and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, neither feel truly invested and come off more like delivering a favor than actually furthering their careers. Hough tries her best and possibly with some veteran directing, this could have been some semblance of a satire, but instead, "Paradise" breathes mediocre and just toeing the line of straight-to-DVD. With all the respect I can muster for Diablo Cody, I ask her to stick to the pen and stay out of the director's chair.More
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