The Movie Waffler First Look Review - PARADISE COVE | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - PARADISE COVE

paradise cove review
A couple's new home comes with a catch - the homeless woman living beneath it!

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Martin Guigui

Starring: Mena Suvari, Todd Grinnell, Kristin Bauer van Straten

paradise cove poster

Mena Suvari, who seemingly has barely aged since her rose-bathing American Beauty days, is the star draw in the cast of unknowns populating this ‘home renovation nightmare’ movie.

As Tracey, she and her husband Knox, played by Todd Grinnell, are new in their Malibu neighbourhood, having just acquired his mother’s fire-damaged home. Boasting spectacular ocean views (“That’s a six-million-dollar view”, Knox exclaims), the hard graft renovation is worth it, they decide. They want to flip the house and head into a future of dream homes and family life.

Sounds idyllic but there is one fly in the ointment - Bree, the homeless woman who lives under the house and refuses to leave.

paradise cove review

At first the only fear this squatter induces is in response to her propensity to spout philosophical babble about identity in between threatening looks. Not once looking a bit homeless but instead like an ex-model going for the boho look, Bree claims ownership of the house she says Knox’s mother stole from her.

She has a key and hidden access to the home, which she uses in various ways, from intimidating Tracey to seducing Knox.

Tracey has apparently taken longing for a child to a whole new level. “Put a baby in me!” she demands of Knox before they embark on sexy time; her constant “You can’t get me pregnant” jibes at her husband would drive anyone to unhappiness but perhaps getting a handjob from a shower-invading homeless person is taking marital dissatisfaction a step too far.

paradise cove review

When Bree starts killing people on the property and Knox starts picturing the crazy homeless lady during sex, the film jumps the shark into a whole new arena of ridiculous.

Paul Rudd-like Grinnell does his best but it would take a miracle to make moments like the lie detector scene and the ‘big fight scene at the end’ anything more than laughable.

As Bree, Kristin Bauer van Straten goes big, and though her propensity to explain every devious action makes her like a bad Bond villain, she was effective enough that I hated her 10 minutes after meeting her.

Suvari is as pleasing on-screen as ever, but this middling effort really is beneath her; hopefully better roles will come her way.

Written by Sherry Klein and directed by Martin Guigui, their decision to give our protagonists a dog tells me that film-makers still haven’t learnt how much audiences hate seeing animals harmed or killed on film, which frankly annoys the heck out of me. The direction here is serviceable if somewhat flat, but the script is a bit of a mess and never truly comes together as a cohesive whole.

paradise cove review

This is almost campy enough to enjoy in a ‘so bad its good’ way but unfortunately it doesn’t embrace the cheese quite as much as it should have to make this a more enjoyable ride, and at one hour and 43 minutes long, it would stretch anyone’s patience. There is much wasted potential here; it’s a shame this film couldn’t decide on a tone or welcome being a full-blown genre movie with all its trappings and excesses - the bland here is suffocating the fun.

There are too many characters, no tension and a plot with more holes than Swiss cheese, as well as it being overlong and quite silly.

It’s a no from me, I’m afraid.

Paradise Cove is on US VOD now. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

2021 movie reviews