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Parents' Guide to

Paradise Cove

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Squatter with grudge menaces; cursing, violence, sex.

Movie NR 2021 103 minutes
Paradise Cove Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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This thriller is predictable and unbelievable. Paradise Cove, a pretend real-life horror movie without an original move in it, regurgitates plot and socioeconomic settings from such better-paced fare as Fatal Attraction, Pacific Heights, and The Stepfather (1987). Believability immediately jumps out the window with the attractive Bauer van Straten in the role of a startlingly well-put-together homeless woman, who sports a large diamond ring and unnaturally overstuffed lips that look as if they've just been injected with expensive facial filler by a Beverly Hills doctor. Even her strategically torn dress looks stylish, and it certainly hasn't been long since her golden tresses were treated to a salon bleach job.

Everything else about this movie is equally implausible. After a messy murder, why don't the police even notice that a prominent local citizen is missing? Why would anyone dealing with a person who repeatedly breaks into his house ever leave large sums of money lying in a drawer? Aren't police trained to recognize signs of arson anymore? When a house burns, why don't neighbors call the fire department? But what feels really icky is the choice to make a homeless person the villain (not that anyone else here embodies model citizenry). Never mind that her objective is to regain possession of a multimillion-dollar beach house that she lost because of non-payment. In all, it's less than helpful when media suggest people without housing are murderous, lazy, entitled loonies, encouraging misleading notions and prejudice against a group that already has enough problems. But the filmmakers take liberties in many areas. Perhaps the most hilarious fantasy promoted here is the notion that a contractor could wade through the local Malibu bureaucracy to secure a home renovation permit in just a few days. Yeah, right.

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