Paradise (2013)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Writer-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
PG-13 (for sexual material, substance abuse, some language and thematic elements)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Russell Brand
as William
Holly Hunter
as Mrs. Mannerhelm
Nick Offerman
as Mr. Mannerhelm
Audrey Burvant
as Little Girl
Danny Flaherty
as Teenage Guy
Alyshia Ochse
as Stripper #1
Ciera Payton
as Stripper #2
Maz Jobrani
as Vegas Driver
Gabe Begneaud
as Frat Guy #1
Zac Waggener
as Frat Guy #2
Tracy Wilson
as Cute Girl #1
Bayley Brunnmeier
as Cute Girl #2
Shane Partlow
as Buffet Attendant
Tony Cordell
as Nasty Little Man
Jamie Lee
as Christian Evangelist
Sam Malone
as Emcee
Jesse Moore
as Patron #2
Lauren Swinney
as Old White Woman
Azure Parsons
as Charlie
Meg Grace
as Delaney
Kate Adair
as Hipster Girl
Monika Guiberteau
as Drunk Girl
Dominic "Taz" Alexander
as Tattoo Artist
Kenyon Carter
as Drag Queen
Cesar Lazcano
as Zipline Attendant
Shane Jacobs
as Guy #2
Christopher Matthew Cook
as Security Guard
Graylen Banks
as Janitor
Evan Stoudt
as Piano Player
Taylor Noble
as Guitar Player
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Paradise

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (12)

The movie goes nowhere, and Ms. Cody's screenplay is relentlessly talky while standing still.

Full Review… | October 23, 2013
New York Observer
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 18, 2013
New York Post
Top Critic

The script needed another draft. And the screenwriter needed another star - and a real director.

Full Review… | October 17, 2013
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Cody has concocted a modern-day "Alice Through the Looking Glass," with none of the danger or wit.

Full Review… | October 17, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The problems with "Paradise," Diablo Cody's first directing effort and fourth produced screenplay, begin almost immediately ...

October 17, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 17, 2013
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Paradise


In "Paradise," Lamb Mannerheim(Julianne Hough) has had her beliefs severely challenged by a near fatal plane crash that has left her with burns over most of her body. She expresses those new ideas, especially the parts about now being an atheist and even possibly voting Democrat in the next election, in front of her church, instead of announcing her donation of her settlement money. Rather, she will use some of that money to spread her wings. But instead of traveling to London to do jell-o shots with Richard Dawkins, she flies to Las Vegas for some general debauchery that begins ominously with a peach schnapps. With her engaging directorial debut "Paradise," Diablo Cody shows that along with her skill with words, she also has a knack for visual imagery. It helps that Cody seldom goes after easy targets while having the movie's sweet protagonist find herself and the world, and maybe not in that order. That's not to mention an excellent turn from Octavia Spencer.(I don't know what to make of Russell Brand and probably never will.)

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


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.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

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 naïve 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

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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