Plot: Susan (Jamie O’Hara) lost her husband in the war and since his death, she and her young daughter have lived with her late husband’s parents. But she has tired of her father-in-law J. Randolph Latimore (R.G. Armstrong), a cranky and controlling old man who thinks little of Susan. He might have accepted her while his son was alive, but now he is very open about his opinion, finding her to be a dumb model and little else. After so much of his tirades, Susan takes a stand and lets him know she is leaving, to pursue work in Miami. While he is glad she is leaving, he worries about his granddaughter, so he makes sure to keep track of the two. The trip to Miami starts off well, but soon takes a turn for the worse when Susan’s car breaks down. A kind stranger arrives to lend a hand, letting her know she can stay at a nearby resort while her car is repaired. She accepts, but soon learns the Garden of Eden is no typical resort, but instead a nudist colony. With nowhere else to go until her car is fixed, will she hide the entire time or learn to embrace the naturalist lifestyle?
Entertainment Value: The Florida nudist movies are a genre unto themselves, with mostly innocent nakedness aimed to reel in audiences curious about this unusual lifestyle. Garden of Eden was even supervised by the American Sunbathing Association, so you know this is a fair and balanced look at naked living. The movie starts off well, with a humorous exchange between Susan and her uptight, asshole father-in-law, then we are spirited off to the nudist resort. This one is a brisk ride, running just over an hour and while it is fluff, it has some bright spots. The earnest nature of the narrative feels so sweet and innocent, praising the natural beauty of the human form and never dipping into sexual content. I also appreciated the presence of J. Randolph, as he adds much needed conflict to this otherwise serene experience. But then, I love dysfunction, so of course I appreciate a mean old man. In the end, this is a fun, very light movie that at least tries to include some good performances and traditional entertainment into the nudist genre. I’d recommend this to fans of the Florida nudist flicks and anyone who appreciates naked Shakespeare.
The bulk of the movie takes place in a nudist resort, so we have naked bodies in liberal doses. Of course, this is also an innocent spin on nakedness, so men carry towels to cover their junk and the women never show their delicate flowers. But we do have lots of breasts and bare asses, so there’s that. While the film is clearly harmless, it does have some nude children and some scenes that are a little creepy now, but within the movie, there’s no bad vibes whatsoever. No blood. The dialogue here is fun at times, between some light dysfunction, naturalism propaganda, and of course “gee whiz” style lines every few minutes. The charm here is how innocent the whole thing is, from the old man who just needs to get naked to overcome his bad attitude to the young girl who is just a kid, but shows wisdom beyond her years. So expect sugar sweet dialogue in most cases, but that can be fun too, especially when laid on this thick. As far as craziness, we do have an out of body experience that is a little out of place, but otherwise this one sticks close to the genre norms.
Overall Insanity: 1/10