Sunday, May 27, 2018
Things To Do

Review: Diablo Cody flick is far from 'Paradise'

Paradise (PG-13) (87 min.) — Diablo Cody should've written a better script for her directing debut, or at least used her Oscar-winning instincts to not choose this one. Paradise pokes its fun at fundamentalist religion but isn't in the same snarky-lark league as Juno, nor as comically raw as Young Adult. The concept is rich with potential to offend yet after a promising opener Cody doesn't seem interested.

Julianne Hough is perky enough as Lamb Mannerheim, a wide-eyed virgin raised in church by her parents (Nick Offerman and Holly Hunter, left jokeless). We learn in montage that Lamb survived an airplane crash, severely burned and wondering why God would spare her to live scarred and chronically pained. Cody's writing is never again as biting, nor her direction as crisp.

Lamb shocks her church community by rejecting God the only way this immensely naive woman knows how, by going to Sin City itself, Las Vegas. She'll draw up a bucket list of transgressions to be accomplished, most of them innocent enough, like getting drunk and urinating in public. Nothing as funny as Aubrey Plaza's The To-Do List, which is indebted to the writer Cody isn't here.

Lamb's journey is unlikely joined by William, a smarmy British bartender — typecasting for Russell Brand — and a cynical, alcoholic nightclub singer named Loray (Octavia Spencer, a wonderment as usual). Paradise becomes their quest to check off Lamb's temptations list and soak up Vegas, riding the Fremont Street zip line, hitting the clubs and rubbing off on each other. Occasionally an identifiably Cody line pops up, cutting and cauterizing but not nearly often enough. (Regency 20 in Brandon.) C-

Steve Persall, Times movie critic

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Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival keeps rain at bay, brings Marshmello, Rezz to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium

In the end, we were waiting for a drop that never came.With Subtropical Storm Alberto forming in the southern Gulf of Mexico, it seemed a matter not of if but when but the Sunset Music Festival would suffer its nasty effects — inches of rain, g...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Coming soon for Star Wars stories: Boba Fett

Coming soon for Star Wars stories: Boba Fett

With all the spotlights focused on Solo: A Star Wars Story and the talk of movies for Lando and Obi-Wan, here's some real news: Everyone's most-hated bounty hunter Boba Fett is getting his on Star Wars movie.Movieweb.com has confirmed that ...
Published: 05/25/18
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

Rare red wolf pups born at ZooTampa

The pups are an important addition to the populations of this rare Florida species, and the first red wolf births at the zoo since 1993.
Published: 05/25/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 29

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 29

Sacred Art Tour of the Tibetan Monks: Eight Dalai Lama-sanctioned monks from India are creating a sand mandala of the Green Tara, a female representation of the Buddha of Compassion. During opening ceremonies, the monks will chant, play long Tibetan ...
Published: 05/25/18
Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

Country comedy band performs at Dessert Theatre benefit

The Sweeney "Family" Band, a musical comedy act that blends country, folk and gospel music with knee-slapping humor, will perform June 3 at the CARES Elfers Center, 4136 Barker Drive, New Port Richey. Doors open at 1 p.m., with the show starting at 2...
Published: 05/25/18
Where veterans get in free or cheap, including Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more

Where veterans get in free or cheap, including Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and more

Memorial Day deals are here.
Published: 05/25/18
Top things to do on Sunday in Tampa Bay

Top things to do on Sunday in Tampa Bay

Our editors' picks for May 27.
Published: 05/25/18
Top things to do on Saturday in Tampa Bay

Top things to do on Saturday in Tampa Bay

Our editors picks for May 26.
Published: 05/25/18
Find a yoga retreat to stretch the mind and body

Find a yoga retreat to stretch the mind and body

Before I attended my first yoga retreat on a trip to see my sister in Oregon, I did exactly zero preparation. Turns out, that’s just fine, and it opened up the wider world of what a yoga getaway can give you.
Published: 05/25/18