Directed and Written by: Diablo Cody
Starring: Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman and Holly Hunter
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: RLJ Entertainment
Running Time: 86 minutes
Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
After watching “Young Adult”, I realized that I am simply not a fan of “Academy Award®-winner” Diablo Cody. “Juno” was an interesting film but since then I have not been a huge big fan of her work. “Paradise” marks her feature directorial debut which also comes from her own original screenplay. I was curious about this film due to its cast, which stars Julianne Hough (“Rock of Ages”, “Footloose”), Russell Brand (“Get Him to the Greek”), Octavia Spencer (Academy Award-winner for “The Help”). Great performances but unfortunately besides that I didn’t really find paradise here.
The film follows a sheltered young woman (Julianne Hough) named Lamb Mannerheim, who loses her faith after a plane crash, leaves her small town of Blakesley, Montana and decides to go to Las Vegas to let loose and experience everything that she has missed in her life. On her journey, she meets a nightclub singer Loray (Octavia Spencer) and bartender William (Russell Brand) who end up taking her under their wing and assist her in finding herself.
I love Julianne Hough in this film (or any film actually). I think she does a great job (and even manages to sing a little). Russell Brand gives a mature performance and is quite likable. He is funny yet very sweet at the same time. Octavia Spencer is just amazing and really has such a great presence. The film gets off to a rough start but surprising picks up some in the last 30 minutes, where it gets some heart. I am a sucker for anything to do with Las Vegas, especially since I have been dying to get back there. I would call this a one-timer, worth checking out for the cast performances but otherwise nothing too memorable here.