Au Pair III: Adventure in Paradise [2009]


Heidi Lenhart was not in the best shape of her life, yet she still has an appealing look and returned to her more feminine Au Pair I longer locks.

Heidi Lenhart easily retained appeal even if not at her fittest. Returning to longer, more feminine Au Pair 1 locks was wise.

One of the most highly rated movies in Family Channel history was 1999’s Au Pair.  It was a charming story about a widower executive with two kids.  He meets and falls in love with the smart and pretty middle-class au pair Jenny.  Thus he is saved from marrying a gold-digging shrew of a fiance.  The Family Channel followed up in 2001 with the aptly named sequel Au Pair II.  It was good but did not capture the same magic.

After a gap of 8 years the cast returns in Au Pair III: Adventure in Paradise.  The same child actors have grown up into refreshingly normal looking people as opposed to the skinny sculpted actors we most often see.  The setting has moved to Puerto Rico as a nice change up to the European vistas of the previous entries.  However, the very structure of the plot has also changed from the first.

The first movie was a great story about people finding real value in their lives and coming together to fight a common problem.  Au Pair III gives every character their own unique problem which gives you the feeling that they are all unhappy.  It also keeps them emotionally separated the whole movie.

Newcomer Kathleen Mealia has a lovely jaw. She steals your eyes from whomever else is on screen. Her career has promise.

Newcomer Kathleen Mealia has a lovely jaw. She steals your eyes from whomever else is on screen. Her career has promise.

Former au pair Jenny is unsatisfied in her work and wants to do something more genuine and spend more time with her and Oliver’s new baby.  Oliver is stressed by corporate politics and vision-less stereotyped board members.  The kids Alex and Katie also seem to have grown unhappy.  Katie more so than Alex.  Katie seems resentful, sarcastic and self centered.  Alex is struggling to tell his dad what career he really wants to pursue, -when he is not striking out with the ladies.

A character named Ariana played by the fetching Kathleen Mealia is introduced as Katie’s friend.  Her striking looks (and bikini) leave an impression.  They spent 99% of the movie building up the seemingly 2-sided romantic tension between her and Alex.  Then they drop it totally and inexplicably with her giving hapless Alex the “just friends” speech.  Then why did she almost kiss him earlier?  Thanks for nothing.

It is sad that someone so naturally pretty and obviously slender felt the need to have to augment herself. Maybe those are her real lips, but those other two assets (if ya’ know what we mean) were a little much.

Produced by a group called “Rain Forest Productions” we should not have been surprised by the heavy handed environmental messages.  Hey we like the environment too, but stop hitting us with it.  Why Oliver has to convince the greedy corporate stereotype to go ahead with production of an inexpensive and practical water burning engine is unfathomable.  Like THAT would not be the most revolutionary and profitable invention of the century?

Gregory Harrison is holding up well.  He has an agreeable demeanor.  Remember him in the Logan's Run TV series?  That's okay, no one does (but me).

Gregory Harrison is holding up well. He has an agreeable demeanor. Remember him in the Logan’s Run TV series? That’s okay, no one does (but us).

Finally, where was the humor?  Au Pair 1 mixed the drama with humor and comeuppance.  (Remember Jenny’s first fiance?)  This movie was basically humorless aside from the occasional ramblings of the eccentric writer character.  Where was the montage scene like that wonderful department store fashion adventure from the first film?

The cast literally comes together to solve Oliver’s problem for about 30 seconds at the end.  Nearly all the diverse character’s problems were resolved too late or in a shallow manner.  It takes more than the cast jumping into a pool to put family back into this beloved Family Channel franchise.


If you care about the characters of Au Pair and what they have done with their lives since Au Pair II, you need to watch Au Pair III.  However do not go in expecting the charm, humor, or even the plot structure of the previous entries.

Check out our take on:

Au Pair [1999]

See a little more of Kathleen Mealia in Top Ten Pretty Shots Volume 1.


5 thoughts on “Au Pair III: Adventure in Paradise [2009]

  1. I know Kathleen personally, and I can tell you that she is 100% natural and yes, just that beautiful. She has never had plastic surgery. Kathleen is just one of those women born with supermodel proportions. Yes, it happens, and yes we can all be jealous. But we shouldn’t create lies about augmentations that never took place.

    • Thank you for weighing in. We of course do not know you, and cannot confirm what you say. We do appreciate the story you purport though, and a friend trying to set the record straight. Sometimes Hollywood types do not tell friends the whole truth about “procedures” they have done. We honestly hope that is not the case here.

      You can see why we think what we think considering Kathleen’s proportions, business and the pressures brought to bear on young actresses. However we like her screen presence and her (hopefully natural) look. More power to her if her looks are what God gave her and nothing else. That would indeed make her unusual in Hollywood.

  2. As the creator and writer of all three Au Pair films, I agree with this “Au Pair III” review full-heartedly. It broke my heart, and our actors nearly mutinied by the way, when my script which was full of humor and adventure, meaningful interaction other character development was ravaged by an overzealous network executive who fancied herself a writer. She even admitted to me that she’d never bothered to even watch the first two installments. The executive is no longer with ABC Family but, sadly, her damage remains and my name is contractually all over this. I loved the two prior films and am sad that this film didn’t become what it deserved to be for the cast and, especially, for the many fans of the Au Pair movies.

    • Thank you Jeff for stopping by. We appreciate your first hand experience, and inclination to set the record straight. We zinged Au Pair III because the series had such potential. Au Pair I was one of the most charming made for TV movies we have seen (and we have seen a lot.)

      Somehow it does not surprise us that the writer/creator of such a heart filled movie as Au Pair I would tell the story you do about Au Pair III. Having been on the front lines of 8 figure creative endeavors. We know how headquarters execs who have lost touch with the creative process (if they ever had it) can interfere (or in your case outright ruin) something. We have heard such tales from the Sci-fi Channel, and apparently the Family Channel suffered as well.

      Of course you are on target in your description of what Au Pair III was missing through no fault of your own: “…humor and adventure, meaningful interaction other character development.” That was truly the core of the franchise. How can someone re-write “Return of the Jedi” without first having seen “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”?

      We hope you get another chance to reunite the cast with a fully approved and un-alterable script. One that honors their characters and is as fun as the first. We hope insiders and other industry professionals know the truth about what happened. We wish you the best of luck and look forward to more interaction here at Fortress Takes and out in the professional world.

      Your comment has re-inspired us to create a take on Au Pair I. Our Au Pair III take is one of our more highly viewed. A tribute to the series enduring likability.

      PS – Tell Gregory Harrison that we still remember. 😉
      Harrison in his Logan's Run The TV Series days.

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