Come See the Paradise
Time Out saysParker's movie about the experience of Japanese-Americans immediately after Pearl Harbor characteristically undermines its socio-political problems by focusing single-mindedly on the lives of a handful of individuals and resorting to simplistic bombast. The opening sequences bode ill: examining the cultural and racial barriers that divide his would-be lovers - ex-union activist Jack McGurn (Quaid) and Lily (Tomita), the Nisei daughter of Jack's employer - Parker even indulges Quaid with a silly, redundant song-and-dance number. Once Jack is drafted, and Lily and her family are interned in a desert camp with thousands of other victims of US xenophobia, the film plunges headlong into turgid melodrama. Dust, death and disintegrating values are the Kawamuras' lot, as the narrative staggers through an endless series of farewells and reunions, fallings-out and reconciliations; tears flow, the music swells, and Jack, affirming his love for Lily, discovers a poetic articulacy that is quite implausible for this working class hero. Except for the historical data inserted here and there into the dialogue, everything on view derives not from reality but from manipulative movie cliché.