Box art for Return to Paradise

Return to Paradise

drama, thrillers


They had been three buddies living the high life in a foreign land. Two return to the U.S. and learn years later that their friend is in a Malaysian prison. Will they Return to Paradise?

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    71%
  • Audience Score
    75%

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Vince Vaughn finally gives a performance putting him in the serious actor category, Joaquin Phoenix is notable and Anne Heche is believable as the impassioned attorney fighting for the life of her client.

- Anthony Miele, Film Threat, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: The real discovery ... is Vince Vaughn, who didn't make as much of a splash in Jurassic Park: The Lost World as he was expected to. Now he does.

- Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Fresh:

- David Rooney, Variety, Thursday, February 23, 2012

Audience Reviews

0 star

This is a piece of depressing flotsam. :::SPOILER::: Asian judicial system gets pissed off at insensative, career driven "any sacrifice for the story" US reporter trying for an international headline and doesn't hold up it's end of bargain. Cowardice aplenty here and honor too. But if I'm supposed to believe that taking her dead brother home to bury him (Malaysia hung him in spite of Vince Vaughn coming back to answer for his part) and then coming back to wait for Vince Vaughn to get out of prison is a happy ending, well that's ludicrous!!! As was most of this movie. Don't even bother with it! I WISH I hadn't!!!

- karyn8sons, Sunday, April 29, 2007

3 stars

An original, thought-provoking film concerning three friends who party hard in Malaysia one summer (Vince Vaughn, Joaquin Phoenix, and David Conrad), where illegal substances are used frequently and the concentration is on just "having a good time". Flash forward a few years later, two of the buds (Vaughn and Conrad) already returned to the states while one of them (Phoenix) stayed behind, and a tenacious lawyer (Anne Heche) appears out of nowhere to inform them that their friend has been arrested for possession of hash, enough to put him to death under Malaysian laws. He is sentenced to hang, with the only exception being if one of the friends or both of them return home, in which case the three of them would do six or three years together respectively. It is a somewhat complicated plot, almost to the point where you start to question if this could actually happen (it might, just not here in the States), but the driving force behind this film remains the trio of performances from Vaughn (who has never been better), Phoenix (whose performance is simply chilling) and Heche (an utterly phenomenal turn), and how you sympathize with these characters. However, the film totally careens off course in its last third, when it seems as if a Hollywood studio kicked in the door and wrecked the creative writing process. It is a shame this movie becomes just "average" when the finale goes for conventional Hollywood story swings, including a laughable final shot that is supposed to be dramatic and uplifting, as well as a severe leap in logic concerning the fate of Vaughn's character. Not a bad movie by any means, but it could have been good or great if it wasn't hamstrung by a poorly put-together final act.

- fb619846742, Thursday, November 10, 2011

4 stars

The intricate workings of the moral dilemma somehow overcome the melodrama. You could complain that the concept deserved to no give-ins to schmaltz from the directors, actors and the soundtrack... but including the schmaltz makes this movie a twisted, tragic version of The Hangover.

- adammahler1, Tuesday, November 2, 2010