[Screen It]


(1998) (Vincent Kartheiser, James Woods) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Extreme Extreme Extreme Moderate Extreme
Moderate None None Minor Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Extreme Minor Mild Extreme

Drama: A middle-aged, drug-addicted couple shows a younger couple of similar persuasions the better ways of living life as criminals.
Bobbie (VINCENT KARTHEISER) and Rosie (NATASHA GREGSON WAGNER) are young drug addicts and lovers whose seedy lifestyle is supported by Bobbie's petty crimes. When one of his heists goes bad, however, Bobbie is severely injured. A friend's uncle, Mel (JAMES WOODS), saves his life and then decides he could use the young thug on his next job and thus takes him under his criminal wings.

Mel and his drug addict girlfriend and partner in crime, Sid (MELANIE GRIFFITH), then decide to show the two lovers the ropes of living a more luxurious lifestyle. However, after they pull off more criminal jobs -- some of which get quite dangerous -- Bobbie and Rosie come to realize that this might not be the way they want to live, especially considering that Mel has a short and quick burning fuse.

If they're fans of director Larry Clark's "Kids" and hear that this is his latest film, or are fans of someone in the cast, they might. Otherwise, it's highly unlikely.
For strong violence, sexuality, drug use and language.
Considering the violent criminal behavior and drug use exhibited by the major characters, it's doubtful many parents would find any of them to be good role models.


OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
According to the dictionary and not taking into account the religious connotations, the word "paradise" means "a place of ideal beauty or loveliness" or "a state of delight." When you hear the term "another day in paradise," the mind wanders to visions of tropical splendor, where deciding how loud to play the next Jimmy Buffet tune is the most difficult thing to contemplate while warm waters lap at one's toes.

Not knowing anything about the film, "Another Day in Paradise," before heading into the theater, I was expecting all sorts of pleasant things before the lights went down and the curtain opened. What followed for the next one hundred or so minutes, however, completely dashed those sunny, vacation thoughts.

While I realize that the title is purposefully ironic, spending time with the lowlife characters that inhabit this film is anything but paradise. Of course, violent, profanity spewing, drug-addicted criminals do really exist out there in the world, but that doesn't mean that I, or any audience member for that matter, wish to get to know them, and this film doesn't change my mind about that.

Of course such criminals have inhabited films for decades, and if drawn correctly, they can be mesmerizing characters. Just look to any of the Coppola or Scorsese mafia films, or the characters found in "Pulp Fiction." While their actions are usually repulsive and abhorrent, the characters themselves -- and often the films in which they appear -- are nonetheless fascinating and often gripping.

Unfortunately, neither of that holds true here. While director Larry Clark ("Kids") shoots the film with a shaky, low budget documentary style that gives you more of a "you are there" feel, it does nothing to draw you into the standard issue story (as written by Stephen Chin and Christopher Landon and based on the book by Eddie Little) or the low-end criminals who inhabit it, beyond the purely superficial, visceral effect.

Since we neither like the characters nor find them intriguing in some fashion (think of Ray Liotta in "Goodfellas" or John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction"), we consequently could care less about the film or what occurs in it.

While I realize that it wasn't the filmmakers' intention to make a hip crime film, the assumed "realism" isn't that shocking, especially after seeing many other films like this as well as TV news shows that feature such low to middle end thieves.

Instead of hip and stylish, we get many scenes of people yelling and screaming at each other (with enough profanities for several films), and while a few of the action scenes are appropriately handled and tense, the rest of the material comes off as irksome, boring and, after a while, a little more than irritating. Since we don't like, care, and aren't mesmerized by any of the characters, that just makes all of it that much worse.

To the film's benefit, actor James Woods ("Contact," "Ghosts of Mississippi") lets everything hang out for his increasingly volatile character, a criminal who's initially intriguing, but soon falls into the standard bad guy quickly going violent routine. Even so, he gives his character more bite than in his previous outing ("Vampires") and is the best thing the film has to offer.

Melanie Griffith ("Now and Then," "Milk Money") seems okay at first, what with her experienced and yet somewhat scatterbrained character, and that approach initially seems right for the role. After a while, however, and especially when playing that character under duress, the results are, how shall we say this, quite bad.

Vincent Kartheiser ("Masterminds," "Alaska") is appropriately lanky as the still unsure of himself teen bandit, while Natalie Wood's daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner ("Two Girls and a Guy," "Urban Legend") is okay, but certainly not great in her role. Lou Diamond Phillips ("La Bamba"), in an uncredited performance, however, does give an interesting, but certainly not likeable take on his homosexual criminal character.

While some may try to see more in this picture than deservedly merits mentioning -- such as the whole family symbolism material with Mel and Sid essentially "adopting" Bobbie and Rosie (a bit that's handled a bit too heavy handed when we learn that the older couple can't have kids) -- and to its credit, the picture remains mostly interesting throughout, it's neither enjoyable nor entertaining.

With lackluster criminal exploits, an extremely low budget feel, and some occasionally laugh-out-loud bad acting, this film, with its ugly and unlikeable characters and increasingly irritating moments, will be hard pressed to find much of an audience and should make a quick beeline for the video stores. We give "Another Day in Paradise" a 3 out of 10.

Here's a look at the content found in this R-rated film. Profanity is extreme with nearly 300 "f" words and a wide (and numerous) variety of other words and phrases. Drug use is also extreme as we see many characters shooting up heroin and drinking, and all of the characters smoke throughout the film.

Violence and blood are also extreme as several beatings/gun fights lead to many bloody and violent deaths. Obviously, all of that plus the overall criminal activity also results in the bad attitude category scoring as an extreme as well.

A sexual encounter with nudity and movement, as well as talk about oral sex and other matters gives that category a heavy rating. While it's questionable how many kids will want to see this film, we strongly suggest that you more closely examine what's been listed should you or someone in your home wish to see it.

  • Mel heats up some heroin and then injects it into the injured Bobbie, and Rosie tries to snort the remnants of the "smack."
  • Mel then makes a comment about Bobbie doing "speed" and "meth," but we don't see any of this.
  • Mel makes a comment about him and Sid "dropping acid."
  • We see Sid shoot up heroin into her upper thigh.
  • People have drinks at a restaurant, and our foursome has champagne. We then later see that Bobbie and Rosie are quite drunk from drinking it.
  • After robbing a drug dealer, Mel and Bobbie then sell the drugs they don't use, and we see Rosie trying to snort more smack. We also see Mel making some more heroin and preparing to inject it, but Sid takes away the syringe.
  • We see Sid shooting heroin into her jugular vein.
  • Mel drinks liquor straight from the bottle in one scene, and then in another.
  • People have drinks at a bar.
  • We see Rosie shooting up heroin and she tells Bobbie, "Let's get high together." He refuses her offer.
  • We see a person who's dead from an overdose.
  • Both Bobbie and a security guard who get into a fight are very bloody afterwards and we see Bobbie spitting out blood into a sink (and later see bruises on his torso).
  • Later we see a trickle of blood run down from Bobbie's nose.
  • We see several instances of needles inserted into various parts of bodies (arms, upper thigh, jugular, etc...) as character shoot up heroin.
  • Several people are very bloody after a gunfight.
  • We see a very bloody man who's been beaten, and then see more blood as other people are shot.
  • All of the major characters, in addition to most everyone else who appears in the movie, are criminals of some sort, and Mel is the worst of them -- a short-tempered thief who kills without remorse.
  • Bobbie sees a flashback where his father throws his mother aside and then picks up the boy and throws him against a wall.
  • Some viewers may not like the film portraying a Reverend as a covert gun dealer.
  • Some may not like Bobbie suggesting to Rosie that she not keep her unborn baby.
  • Some jokes told during the film may be offensive to some viewers. They include "If the Flintstones were black, what would you call the show? The niggers." "How do you circumcise a redneck? Kick his sister in the chin." "Do you know how to get a hundred Jews into Mercedes- Benz? In the ashtray."
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be tense to some viewers, especially the gun standoff scenes.
  • Handguns/Shotguns/Screwdriver: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Mel buys several guns from a Reverend and then teaches Bobbie how to use a handgun.
  • Mel does some target shooting at a bottle.
  • Phrases: "Shut the f*ck up," "Who gives a flying f*ck?" "Suck my d*ck," "D*ckhead," "Ape sh*t," "Blow job," "Niggers," "Bitch," "Little bitch," "Chicks" (women), "Bastard," "Idiot," "Take a piss," "Geez Louise," "Schmuck," "Hung like a horse," "Faggot" and "Balls" (testicles).
  • While not particularly glamorized, the drug use and smoking may entice some teens to try either.
  • While lighting his cigarette, Bobbie lights an entire pack of matches at once.
  • Bobbie breaks into vending machines and later participates in other criminal activity with Mel and Sid.
  • Although we don't actually see the act, Bobbie urinates outside.
  • A man spits on another man.
  • None.
  • None.
  • One song includes the lyrics "make love."
  • At least 291 "f" words (14 used with "mother," 4 used sexually), 65 "s" words, 8 slang terms using male genitals ("c*cksucker," "d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 6 slang terms using female genitals ("p*ssy," "c*nt" and "tw*t"), 1 slang term for breasts ("t*tties"), 13 asses (2 used with "hole"), 3 damns, and 13 uses of "Oh my God," 11 of "G-damn," 6 of "Oh God," 5 each of "God" and "Jesus," 2 of "Jesus Christ" and 1 use of "Swear to Christ" as exclamations.
  • We see Rosie in her underwear.
  • We see the top part of Bobbie's bare butt as his pants ride down his body.
  • We see Bobbie and Rosie in bed and see him kissing and licking her bare breasts. We then see movement as they have sex (with heavy breathing), as well as the side of her bare butt that he holds while she's on top of him. We later learn that she's pregnant.
  • Mel asks Sid if she liked "the tongue this morning" (oral sex), and then he and Bobbie rapidly move their tongues as if performing oral sex (and Bobbie asks Rosie if she likes it fast).
  • We see the upper inside of Sid's thigh as she shoots up.
  • Sid tells Rosie that Mel is "hung like a horse."
  • Mel tells Bobbie the best way "to eat p*ssy" is to mouth the alphabet and we see them momentarily demonstrating this (into the air).
  • Mel comments that he's a forty-year-old "who f*cks like a kid" and Bobbie then chimes in that he's a kid "who f*cks like a forty-year-old."
  • Mel tells the following joke: "How do you circumcise a redneck? Kick his sister in the chin."
  • While recovering at a hideaway, Rosie tells Bobbie, "Relax. I'll come back and give you a blow job."
  • Mel and Bobbie go to a gay club to meet an informant where we see some men dancing, caressing and a few adjusting their, or other men's clothed crotches. The informant then asks if they want to smoke some drugs and then get naked. When Bobbie acts disgusted at the proposal, the informant states "I could kick your ass as good as I could f*ck it."
  • We see part of Rosie's bare butt in her underwear.
  • Trying to entice Bobbie to stay with her, Rosie lifts up her top and we momentarily see her bare breasts. Bobbie then tells her that he'll come back later "and f*ck you all night long."
  • All four main characters smoke throughout the movie, while some miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • Bobbie has a flashback where we see his father physically abusing him and apparently his mother, and he and Rosie are apparently teen runaways.
  • Life as a criminal and that crime doesn't pay (at least in the end).
  • The drug use depicted in the film.
  • A security guard repeatedly hits Bobbie with his nightstick until the teen's face is quite bloody. Bobbie manages to hit him once, until the guard cracks him again. Bobbie then turns and stabs the guard in the chest with a long screwdriver, presumably killing him.
  • Bobbie sees a flashback where his father throws his mother aside and then picks up the boy and throws him against a wall.
  • Mel aims his handguns at two guys who balked at his drug dealing price.
  • A man shoots Mel in the shoulder and another hits Bobbie with his gun and then kicks him on the floor. Sid then shoots a person dead with a shotgun, shoots another in the leg and then kills him as well. Bobbie then shoots two men dead who get off another shot that hits Mel, leaving both men very bloody (with blood splatter also on Mel's face).
  • Mel violently slaps and pokes Bobbie on his head while trying to get his point across.
  • Mel kicks at (and may partially hit) Sid as she gets up during an argument.
  • Bobbie trashes a motel room in momentary anger.
  • We see that a man has violently beaten another man who's very bloody. Bobbie then rushes in and holds his gun to that man's head. Moments later, a man is accidentally shot and mortally wounded, and another man then comes in and shoots a man in the chest as well as a woman (execution style) in the head.
  • Mel starts to partially strangle Sid while trying to make a point. Later, he violently punches her in the face.

  • Reviewed December 15, 1998 / Posted on December 30, 1998

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