A Week in Paradise

A Week in Paradise is not so much a movie as it is a template.  This is a paint-by-numbers rom-com, but nobody has bothered to colour anything in.  I would say the film relies on clichés, but that would suggest director Philippe Martinez (co-producer of My Dad’s Christmas Date) made an effort to find existing tropes to lift.  I have a hard enough time believing Martinez was even on set.

Malin Akerman (Watchmen, Dinner with Friends, Chick Fight) plays heartbroken movie star Maggie.  After discovering her beau Christopher (Jack Donnelly) has been unfaithful, Maggie escapes to the Caribbean after accepting an invite from her cousin Fiona (Nobody’s Connie Nielsen) to decompress at an exotic resort.  Fiona and Maggie catch up and vent about relationship pitfalls while enjoying the beautiful weather over succulent food and beverages.  In between meditation sessions, Maggie meets Sam (Philip Winchester), a chef at the resort who may just revitalize Maggie’s appetite for love.

The movie was allegedly written by a screenwriter (Kate Wood), though the script doesn’t feel new.  Wood borrows a lot of character attributes from other break-up stories.  Movies copy other movies – that’s a fact.  And, if the plot had its own legs to stand on, Wood could’ve gotten away with this.  Unfortunately, the story is too thin and Martinez relies too often on long musical montages featuring footage of Maggie “finding herself” or admiring the tropical environment.  These montages are lazy shortcuts that enable the production to lean back on their duties to engage the audience.  What are viewers going to be more interested in?  People talking and advancing their arcs or B-roll of Malin Akerman sitting on a beach and staring into the landscape?

But, as hard as it may be, let’s work with this movie.  Suppose the filmmakers weren’t trying to engage the audience with its barebones story.  Suppose Philippe Martinez, Kate Wood, the actors, and the rest of the production team were trying to make a movie that “vibes”.  Maybe viewers are supposed to be living vicariously through Maggie as she drops everything to be consoled by family to enjoy a no-strings-attached vacation.  A sequence where Maggie and Sam run into each other at a local market and turn it into an impromptu date is evidence.  It’s a pitch worth exploring if it wasn’t for the autopilot filmmaking that accompanies it.  Viewers then endure the couple giggling and strolling around the market as their dialogue is turned down and funky music plays on top of them.

A Week in Paradise is not interested in communicating with the audience.  To the movie, the audience is an afterthought as the production enjoys their own vacation.  It’s a lousy accusation that reflects the gruelling and cynical attitude the filmmakers have towards their viewers.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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