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Paradise Grove
15Paradise Grove (2005)

updated 16 May 2005
reviewer's rating
2 out of 5
Reviewed by Jamie Russell
average user rating
3 Star


Director
Charles Harris
Writer
Charles Harris
Stars
Leyland O'Brien
Rula Lenska
Ron Moody
Lee Blakemore
John Cunningham
Length
93 minutes
Distributor
Storyline
Cinema
20 May 2005
Country
UK
Genre
Drama
Comedy
Web Links
Official site


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Average star rating: 3 from 12 votes

"Life, death and the bit in the middle" is the subject of Paradise Grove, an offbeat black comedy set in a North London retirement home. Leyland O'Brien stars as Keith Perry, the half-black, half-Jewish son of the home's proprietress (Rula Lenska), whose budding identity crisis is complicated by the arrival of Kim (Lee Blakemore), a runaway with a secret to hide. Sporting jokes as frail as its OAP extras, this lame comedy has one foot in the grave.

With Jewish stereotypes that seem to have been left over from Fiddler On The Roof and some terrible underacting (O'Brien is a total non-presence in the lead role), Paradise Grove makes for depressing viewing. Set in a retirement home full of drooling oldsters, it tries to poke deep and meaningful fun at the inevitability of death and the indignities of old age that face us all. Unfortunately it never quite delivers the laughs or the profundity to convince as either comedy or fable.

"CONSTANTLY CONTORTS ITS CHARACTERS"

It doesn't help that writer/director Harris constantly contorts his characters into contrivances: Kim's on the run from her hitman father; Keith's mum is an old hippie who regularly raids the pharmaceutical cabinet. The only person who does ring true is Keith's octogenarian granddad Izzie, a former underwear salesman who's enraged as old age and weak bowels leave him wearing rubber nappies. Brilliantly played by Ron Moody as a Jewish answer to Victor Meldrew, he's the only sign of life in an otherwise moribund comedy.

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