Monday, April 19, 2010

DVD Review: "Welcome to Paradise"

Recently, I had the chance to watch the new DVD Welcome to Paradise with my family. I had heard about this video because one of the actors in this video is Brad Stine, America’s Conservative comedian. I really liked Welcome to Paradise, although there were a few lesser enjoyable points.

In Welcome to Paradise, Debbie Laramie finds herself removed from her position in a mega-church in the big city. When she is moved to the small town of Paradise with her son Hayden, she meets many new people, including several people at a homeless shelter. Upon hearing one of these men play his guitar, Debbie invites the man to come to her church and play for the congregation. She is surprised to learn the church’s condescending opinion against homeless people. Around this time, Debbie learns of her son Hayden’s dyslexia and meets the basketball coach of the local school where Hayden is playing. While in the process of dealing with Hayden’s dyslexia and the struggle of moving to a new town, Debbie invites a homeless woman, Francis, to come to her church the following week. That morning, Debbie preached a message about how God receives people, including homeless people, just as they are. The message is so inspirational to the homeless people, who later show their gratitude at the church potluck. That is when tragedy causes destruction to the Paradise church building, upon which Francis is blamed. Although she is later released, it is up to Debbie and other ladies from Paradise church to help Francis out. In the meantime, the Paradise church members realize that the only thing they can do is rebuild the church in an old barn. When Debbie’s previous church begins to shut down Paradise Church, Debbie presses for permission to raise a church in the barn in one day.

I loved the story line of Welcome to Paradise, especially the way that Debbie worked with her son. In the beginning, the two are at odds, because Hayden refuses to move to another town. In the end, Hayden makes it clear how much he loves his mom. I also greatly admired the way that Debbie honored the homeless people of the town. While others wouldn’t even sit with them, Debbie would reach out to them and be salt and light. I also thought that Brad Stine was a perfect addition to the cast, being a sarcastic, spoiled character who only looked out for his own interest. Since Brad is short, he fit perfectly as Johnny Sullivan.

I did, however, think that Debbie’s first message at Paradise Church was rather scatterbrained. In fact, it was so unrealistic that it was almost laughable! Also, Welcome to Paradise features a salon scene that was unnecessary, which I don’t recommend. And for romance-haters, there are several romance scenes that drag out a little too long, but nothing objectionable is presented.

Overall, however, I thought Welcome to Paradise was a great video. It had a little potential, and some parts had acting that was hard to believe. But the message of the video was excellent, and viewers can see how Debbie got her reward of honoring those around her in the end. Welcome to Paradise also features musical score by Selah, containing three of their songs, including “Amazing Grace,” that were all featured at perfect times.

I would recommend Welcome to Paradise to families looking for family friendly films. It has an excellent story line, great actors, and an excellent musical score.

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