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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Total surprise

8/10
Author: Noonie from United States
14 August 2011

This film was a total surprise for me. I didn't see how you could make a comedy set in a whorehouse funny due to the subject matter, but it worked and what I liked about this film, was that it felt quite raw and realistic. I think I was expecting it to be like a Meet the Parents gag after gag film but instead it felt like a snapshot of something that could have happened. Rather than be a 'film', it almost felt like a rough and ready documentary of someone's reality. One minute quite serious and heavy, the next ridiculously comical the way I suppose real life is. For instance, the uncle telling vivid stories of his exploits, and his nephew Justin just innocently trying to get by, but kind of putting his foot in it the whole time because of his naivety. What I also liked was it didn't pretend being a hooker was any sort of picnic. I didn't realize in Scotland, I suppose like Las Vegas, the whorehouses are legal to keep the women safe. Anyway, definitely 8 out of ten and worth a watch.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

I laughed out loud for half the film

10/10
Author: Jill Anderson from United Kingdom
10 August 2011

I watched 'A Spanking in Paradise' at last night's Scottish BAFTA screening in Glasgow. I didn't really know what to expect - though i suppose the title may have given something away - but I was completely blown over. Through Justin, the very handsome lead character, we're introduced to the hilarious goings on at the 'Birds of Paradise Sauna,' one of Scotland's many licensed brothels. As I women I wasn't that aware that they existed in the numbers that they do. And the various characters he meets during his stay are larger than life, one of which I'm still chuckling about this morning. At times, it's hard to say weather this film is a comedy with darker moments, or a drama with comedy woven through it. But for me that was all part of this enjoyable watching experience. This film is not 'The English Patient' so shoulder be viewed as such. But in the days of remakes and sequels, and risk adversed commissioners and studios, it was genuinely refreshing to see something so original. You can do a lot worse than spending 94 minutes in the Birds of Paradise Sauna.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

very funny indeed

8/10
Author: miffysellers from United Kingdom
30 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not only is Andrew Hawley totally delicious, but I found this film hilarious at last year's EIFF. Andrew was a really great fish out of water in the brothel environment, and his facial expressions reacting to the things he sees and hears really made me laugh. My favourite character was the brothel manager Leo, he makes a totally evil and creepy brothel manager, and the way he treats the girls is utterly disgusting and very realistic. I also loved how the darkness of the sauna environment was also contrasted with slapstick throughout the film, whether from the Curry Tom character, the girls and their punters, or the grunting and groaning in the gym. Rab's monologues put Frank Gallagher's monologues in Shameless to shame. Great stuff indeed.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An outrageously funny and intense ride of epic proportions!

10/10
Author: Johnny Blase from United Kingdom
10 August 2011

A hilarious insight into Edinburgh's seedy sex world of brothels. Fresh outspoken comedy at it's fullest with a dash of grit and a drizzle of seriously sexy women. The characters in this movie will have you rolling around your seats with laughter and keep you on the edge with suspense. Being an Edinburg o myself i felt I could relate to the characters well and was intrigued by their hilarious tales of foreign adventures, transvestites and extravagant chases from the police down Leith walk. I like a film that not only makes me laugh but sustains a level of dramatic intensity throughout and 'A Spanking In Paradise' delivers in every scene. The lead character Justin is portrayed ever so well by Andrew Hawley and every step he takes deeper into the underground world of Edinburgh, you feel you are there with him. Sit back and relax as your about to get a spanking!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Shameless dark comedy

10/10
Author: jackoliphant4 from United States
14 August 2011

This film reminded me of Shameless, one of my favorite TV shows right now. My favorite part of this film was probably the opening scene... makes you realize how ridiculous the questions on an immigration form must be for people coming into our beloved country, the US of A, really made me laugh... anyway, very funny film, lots of hot chicks and good acting.

The uncle Rab is a bit like Frank Gallager, but tells funny stories rather than just simply ranting about injustices, and the Justin character is almost like Fiona, trying to make his way through the crazy world his uncle has created. A wild ride to watch!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Funny Brit Flick

7/10
Author: Nadia T from United States
12 August 2011

Thought this film had a great title and the premise was pretty intriguing, so went to see it at the cinema last night at midnight. I was worried I wouldn't stay awake, but it kept me laughing all the way through. I like British comedy, though this was different as a bit more gritty. It felt like a pretty realistic, and therefore at times slightly depressing portrayal of what being a hooker is like, but the majority of the film doesn't focus on this, and is funny and occasionally slapstick. Every now and then it serves up a complete curve ball, and has you laughing out loud. All in all I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Gritty realism from the seedy side of Edinburgh

9/10
Author: cassie_mcphail from Near Glasgow, Scotland
7 November 2011

Justin, a human rights lawyer takes a trip north of the border to visit with family before he moves out to the United States. As it turns out, his uncle runs a brothel (sauna) and while waiting on his Visa being processed he finds himself involved in a life that his mother moved to England to keep him away from. I had seen postings for this movie for a while but had never gotten around to it. Now i'm wondering what took me so long. There are not many movies at the moment that actually make me laugh out loud but this one did. Some funny anecdotes and some very funny visual moments lightened what could have been a very dark movie. Unfortunately i was left wanting more. Nice one.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious, Dark wee Gem of a Movie!

9/10
Author: TheMightyHodgeheg from United Kingdom
3 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With equally charismatic performances from Leo Horsfield and Simon Weir, the strength of this film lies in the rich dialogue and storytelling, something many brit flicks avoid, which is what makes this movie so appealing and unique.

Like the main character Justin, this story take you out of your comfort zone as it drops us into the seedy, underbelly of Edinburgh's barely legitimate 'sauna' trade.

Despite the films' title, there's surprisingly little gratuitous sex or violent content but it's the fleeting glimpses and hints of them which actually make it seem more realistic, grim and it's certainly a refreshing change. That's not to say there is a lack of juicy content, there's plenty eye Candy (Big Agnes!) and just out of shot action to make you squirm with delight and the low budget feel definitely adds to the grittiness of it all rather than detract.

Highlights are the endearing, and unpredictable Uncle Rab's gripping, animated anecdotes and the genuine laugh out loud moments from this motley crew, as the drama unfolds, particularly from the character 'Curry Tom.' There's familiar warmth from the character Uncle Rab (played brilliantly by Simon Weir), his overly friendly peers and our cringing sympathy for naive and conscientious Justin. It's this, combined with the underlying sinister factors (including the vulnerability of some of the prostitutes and Rab's even less legal ventures) which creates a heady mix of anticipation served with relieved, relaxed laugher. The ruthless brothel manager Leo (played with sinister intensity by Leo Horsfield) reminds us of the darker side of the industry and the characters ongoing lives. Manipulative, sly and violent, he rules by intimidation and his brooding presence is felt throughout until the film reaches its unsettling but somewhat satisfying climax.

With an upbeat, simple, one track musical score repeated throughout there's also some beautifully shot scenes of Edinburgh, always a comfort to anyone who is familiar with this amazing city. A nice extra is the entertaining end credits, Thallon keenly keeping you gripped right up until the end!

By far the strongest performances come from the talented and charismatic Horsfield and Weir, two faces which we should expect to be seeing more of in the future.

To sum up, it's dark, it's comical and it's definitely the type of film that you can watch over and get something new from it every time, particularly if you don't quite pick up all the Scottish dialect the first time. If you want an original, funny, honest and atmospheric Scottish movie then this is the one for you. If you want the stereotypical, twee Brit-flick fluff then probably not so much, but as it's such a unique venture it's worth a watch either way.

As a limited release Indie film (I tracked the DVD down through facebook) it's no surprise that it's a shamefully under praised wee gem of a movie!

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UK film at its best.

9/10
Author: jcpenny2012 from London
2 January 2012

Really enjoyed this movie. Why bother to write a review? - because also watched Chatroom (2010) movie in same session which was shockingly rubbish - 10% on rotten tomatoes - didn't know could be rated that low!! Important when film-makers get it right especially with restricted budget that they are recognised. I heard of Spanking in Paradise from article in a magazine interviewing the director. Can see where the authenticity comes from! Don't expect big special effects, explosions etc - its all in the dialogue and characters who are all quirky and funny. It won two awards in Edinburgh Film Festival and was named on the best of the festival list. Not quite new Trainspotting as some enthusiastic critics have said but very very good.

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Doubled-over with laughter

9/10
Author: thompsonemail from uk
1 January 2012

Friend in US recommended it - gather from website its been released globally - but looks like it'll be one of those that builds momentum before becomes well know generally. I missed it when it case out in uk cinemas. Not sure friend in US fully got it but Spanking in Paradise is unique - yes a gritty story but mainly hysterically funny with both 'thinking man's humour' in the dialogue as well as the more obvious stuff. Be warned though - you have to follow the dialogue and Scottish slang to get all the best jokes - well worth it - but even if watching while winding-down you'll find plenty to laugh at. Cast are mainly unknowns but characters are brilliant - Rab, Leo and acid nut case Tom stand out as well as girls in the sauna. Not to be missed if you like UK comedy.

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