I know it is nearing Halloween, but time for an odd, irreverent Diablo Cody dark comedy called Paradise. Julianne Hough portrays a young woman named Lamb who was in a horrible plane crash, burned over most of her body. She is cared for by her strict mother played for by Holly Hunter. Her mother is a church going bible thumper, and instead of Julianne Hough appeasing her mother, she gets up to the church lectern after the year it took to partly recover, and not only renounces god, she describes all the gory details of her crash and finally exclaims : "In the next presidential election I may vote democrat!" Holy hell that clears the room, and those who are left gasp and look mortified.
After the huge settlement she is off to the land of sin, meeting up with the odd characters in Vegas. Russel Brand the bartender, a cool reunite from Rock of Ages. Russel Brand is made up to look like Jesus, but has a far different message. He is hysterical and caring at the same time to Lamb.
One of the cool things in Paradise, is how Julianne has matured as an actress. I worked as an extra on Rock of Ages, spending hours by the stage where Julianne was singing with Tom Cruise. Julianne is a hard worker and gracious performer. In Paradise, she is given many lines to chew on, a challenge she seems to enjoy, with her sense of humor. Obviously having Holly Hunter on set is a huge boost for Julianne's acting chops, like a teacher, and yeah they are believable as mother and daughter. For the comedy, Russel Brand and Julianne have a solid on screen chemistry during their many scenes together. julianne has mastered the art of voice inflection and worked hard on her comedic timing. Hope to see her do more films like this in the future.
What evolves when the story shifts from a small town Montana is a quirky story, fun, tragic, yet surprisingly warm. Stereotypes are shattered, prepare to be offended! No issues or stones, or bibles are left un-desecrated by the trash mouthed characters with a heart! Lamb makes sure all the sins are covered she even crosses off public urination. Russel Brand's William character guides her like a circus ringmaster! That is the real highlight of the Paradise, their scenes together
The third pillar in the group is an African American lounge singer named Loray played by Octavia Spencer who is trying to be her rock and advise her on the pitfalls of Vegas, specifically Paradise, Nevada. She is rolling around as the third wheel with a heart. Octavia has good style and presence in Paradise
The journey, the ride, and conclusion to Paradise are all thought provoking, The film is a fun and sad 90 minute ride, an eye opening journey to adulthood as much as coping with tragedy. Paradise is a sardonic, sweet, yet mellow, and entertaining ride. I rate the film a must own, 9 out of 10!
The movie is available now on Amazon, click link below!