Directedby Diablo Cody

Starring Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Octavia


Rated PG-13

Opens tomorrow at

AMC Empire

Diablo Cody is an accomplished screenwriter, winning an Oscar for "Juno" and scripting the underrated "Young Adult."

She'd surely make a fine director. I'd go so far as to suggest that she's got a great movie in her as a writer-director hyphenate.

Sadly, the innocuous wish-fulfillment fantasy "Paradise" is not it.

Cody's directorial debut is centered on Lamb (Julianne Hough), a young woman from a conservative religious background, who rebels by traveling to Las Vegas after a terrible airline accident.

Lamb's goal in Sin City? To sin. To experience some of what she's missed out on in her upbringing.

This cries out for ribald, campy entertainment that taps into Vegas' outrageous qualities. Maybe not "Showgirls," exactly, but something in that vein, albeit with better dialogue and acting.

Instead, we get a movie that's so bland it feels like an after-school special. Most everyone's very nice and pleasant and it's all extremely boring, about as flavorful as dry toast.