Imagine The Wizard of Oz as written by Ambrose Bierce (Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge), and you have the highly imaginative screenplay for the fourth and final entry in Jim West's Paradise series for Vivid. The tape offers a psychologically satisfying wrap-up to West's mythos of Hawaii, which began with the reality of Paradise Found (Eden with serpent poised to strike), then ventured into the fantasy world of From Maui With Love (Eden before the fall) and the distorted memories of Island Heat (looking back to Eden from exile). Appropriately enough, Paradise Beach reminds us that Eden exists only as a state of mind, an inward vision.
Tom Rucker gives a delightful performance as the Hawaii-bound tourist who never reaches his island paradise but finds that Eden can be recreated at home. Tom discovered his Adam (Grant) in a taxicab driver after a series of fantasies/dreams that occur when – well, I don't want to give away too much of the plot. But everything fits so well together that the four features should be viewed as a single thematic statement. In fact, rental stores may find it profitable to exhibit this series as a unit on their shelves. The whole is definitely more impressive than the sum of the parts, with Paradise Found the only weak link.
Sexual highlights include a tongue duet with Rocker and Stone, Vincent's non-stop "sexologue" in front of one-way mirrors that create the Versailled effect, and a hard-edged encounter between Daniels and Spector in a glass bathtub that allows unusual views of the action. As for the final scene, Rucker proves that he is as sexy as he is talented, and Grant – for the first time in his short career – actually smiles for the camera with a sincerity that his previous performances lack.
But the real stars of this tape are the script, sets, camerawork and editing. West has created a 70-minute symphony of sex, irony and psychological satisfaction. In fact, that's my only gripe: I wanted it to be longer.