Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
The plot machinery creaks in "Paradise," and it grinds exceedingly slow, and finally what it produces is a nice little movie about two children, and a contrived big movie about two adults. The film takes place somewhere down in Delta shrimp-fishing country, where a married couple (Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) are living through unending sadness and anger after the death of their child.
Then Griffith's old friend, whose own marriage is breaking up, sends her son to spend the summer down south, and this child, named Willard, acts as the catalyst to bring the grown-ups back together again.
The problem with this plot is too much contrivance. Although much time at the top of the movie is devoted to the mother up north, it's obvious she exists primarily in order to have a son who can be dispatched to the side of Griffith and Johnson. The contrivance doesn't stop there. What about the young neighbor girl that Willard meets? She also comes from a broken home; her dad is a heartless roller-skating instructor in a nearby town.
At some point here we simply get too many unhappy parents for two small kids to support. Maybe the filmmakers should have taken a step back, looked carefully at their movie, seen that it was really about the two kids, and told the story from their point of view. Of course, then "Paradise" wouldn't have been a tailor-made Griffith and Johnson vehicle, but sometimes you gotta bite the bullet.