Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Saving Paradise Review: A Feel Good Coming Home Film

William Moseley	...	Michael Peterson Johanna Braddy	Johanna Braddy	...	Charlie Clark Mimi Kennedy	Mimi Kennedy	...	Barbara Peterson Shashawnee Hall	Shashawnee Hall	...	George O'Malley Mary Pat Gleason	Mary Pat Gleason	...	Mary Williams Paul Dooley	Paul Dooley	...	Gramps Bill Cobbs	Bill Cobbs	...	John Thompson Lawrence Pressman	Lawrence Pressman	...	Don Peterson Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Marc Avery	Marc Avery	...	Office Worker #1 Shaughn Buchholz	Shaughn Buchholz	...	Edward Worthington Alex Campbell Stein	Alex Campbell Stein	...	Wall Street Executive Esteban Dager	Esteban Dager	...	Bowling Alley Teen Francisco DeCun	Francisco DeCun	...	Wall Street Executive James Eckhouse	James Eckhouse	...	Cameron Wannemaker Sami Kolko	Sami Kolko	...	Mandy Valeria Maldonado	Valeria Maldonado	...	Julie Barnes Aidan Merwarth	Aidan Merwarth	...	Teenage Michael Elodie Grace Orkin	Elodie Grace Orkin	...	Young Charlie

Release date: September 3, 2021
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Jay Silverman
Written by: Van Billet
Starring: William Moseley, Johanna Braddy, and Mimi Kennedy

SAVING PARADISE is an inspiring story based on true events. A ruthless corporate raider is forced to return to his small town roots where he suddenly inherits his father’s nearly bankrupt pencil factory, which is the heart and soul of the depressed community. With the foreclosure deadline looming, he must decide to either let it close, or join the community’s fight to save it.

Andrew Patrick Ralston	...	Fred Willis Brandon Ruiter	Brandon Ruiter	...	DJ Peterson Tommy Schneiders	Tommy Schneiders	...	Jerry Cramer (as Tom Schneiders) George Steeves	George Steeves	...	Walter Wilson Denise Swindell	Denise Swindell	...	Office Worker #2 Pam Trotter	Pam Trotter	...	Leona Hines Karen E. Wright	Karen E. Wright	...	Plant Worker Produced by  Bethany Cerrona	...	producer Joseph Gamache	...	co-producer William Newman	...	producer Jijo Reed	...	post executive producer Jay Silverman	...	executive producer
Your enjoyment of Saving Paradise will depend on how much you like the two leads, and thankfully they are fun to watch.  Seeing Mike (Moseley) and Charlie (Braddy) try to save the company and the difficulties that they face is fun to see.  It's your typical small town return film, but at least the actors are enjoyable characters.  I especially liked how strong of a character Charlie was, especially when confronted with her new boss.  And the film does have an overall feel good feeling, like a Christmas movie that is released in September.  In fact, this would be a perfect Christmas movie as the timeline within the film makes it conclude during the holidays.  

But Saving Paradise also feels formulaic, like a made for TV movie.  Some of the acting is overexaggerated, the story has some emotional parts that just didn't hit, and the entire film feels like something made for television.  Many of the characters are your typical small town caricatures; wholesome, set in their ways, and wise beyond their small town circumstances.  And the film was sometimes very predictable.  The initial story felt like something you have seen before, with a lot of the tropes and characters you have come to expect.  And there is this tragic circumstance that is included in the film that just felt strange to me.  I understand what they were trying to do but the whole thing seemed clumsily handled and bolted on.  

However, stick around with this film because there are some surprises after the predictable start and middle.  There are some films where the ending can make or break it, and Saving Paradise is one of those.  The ending throws in some unexpected ideas and events, a little bit of holiday magic, and a feel good finale that leaves you with a smile on your face

Saving Paradise has a mostly predictable story with rough edges, but it ends with a feel good finale that showcases the heart of this film. 

Rent it.

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Saving Paradise s available digitally and on demand on September 3, 2021.  

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