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Simply ‘Paradise’

P'gram pic preems for H'wood

Polygram Filmed Entertainment premiered its suspense-filled drama “Return to Paradise” Monday night at Mann’s Village Theater in Westwood. Loosely based on the 1990 French film “Force Majeure,” pic tells the tale of a young American (Joaquin Phoenix) erroneously detained in a Malaysian prison on drug charges.

Audience members dabbed their eyes as they emerged from the show, but quickly changed gears as they followed the sound of beating drums to a UCLA parking lot transformed into a tropical paradise. Lit by colored lanterns, a fire-breather held center court as partygoers munched Asian appetizers served from grass huts.

Festivities picked up when dancing fools Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn cut loose as the DJ turned to standard disco favorites. Faster than you could say “Penang Prison,” partygoers followed suit, crowding the dance floor.

Making brief appearances were the film’s Jada Pinkett Smith and “Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant. Also in attendance were “Paradise” director Joseph Ruben, co-writer Wesley Strick, producers Alain Bernheim and Steve Golin, and actresses Amy Brenneman, Ally Sheedy, Julianne Moore and Joey Lauren Adams.

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