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Trapped in Paradise (1994)

by on 2014/12/27

Trapped_in_Paradise“It is a long and miserable story that I would rather not get into.”

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I would have rather watched three screaming toddlers play cops and robbers than have spent nearly two hours of my life watching Trapped in Paradise. I can almost guarantee the toddlers would be funnier and more able to form a coherent narrative than the criminal brothers Firpo, played by Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey.

The only thing that saved this dreck from the rare distinction of a one-star review was my ability to focus on making out the quaint Ontario small-town locations in which this holiday heist and ‘the dangers of low IQs and you’ public service announcement were filmed.

“Hey,” I thought to myself while Dana Carvey’s brain-damaged character nearly slammed his car into a mounted police man and his horse, “that’s the Prince of Wales Hotel where Miss_Tree, my favourite teenager, and I had high tea this summer.”

“Isn’t that the diner we had donuts and coffee during the Shaw Festival?” and so on.

I was able to squint and focus on Ontario. And that deadened some of the misery. Not all of it, unfortunately.

I don’t want to drag this review out more than I have to, this movie already robbed me of precious holiday hours where I could be napping or playing Far Cry 4. So here goes…

This is a movie about some idiot brothers from New York who like stealing things. Cage’s character, Bill, is trying to go straight with a day job. Lovitz is a compulsive liar by the name of Dave who wants to rob places and lie and speak sarcastically. Carvey’s character is a twitching, ambulatory brain stem named Alvin whose single-celled, protozoan motivation is to cram other people’s belongings into his pockets. They go to a small town named Paradise for some reason at Christmas.

Mr. Renders speculated that Dana Carvey based his voice on Bob Dylan on nitrous oxide. I read that Carvey reported he based his “performance” on a young Mickey Rourke. I will simply say to understand Carvey in this film you need only imagine the most irritating person you’ve ever encountered in your entire life and then multiply that irritation by 452.

There were several promising moments during the film where I though Carvey’s character might die …only to be crushed and disappointed when the fictional small-town folk (who make these career criminals believe in the spirit of Christmas and human kindness something, something) save the whiny, intolerable cretin’s life.

When the ice water in Carvey’s lungs whooshed out after rustic CPR in front of a roaring holiday fire, I thought, “dear god, he’s going to be able to speak again.”

Nicolas Cage was also eye-wateringly awful but not to the level where I wanted him to die. I just wanted him to quietly walk away and maybe take a nap. Jon Lovitz was just sort of there – staring the 1,000-metre stare into the abyss.

Trapped is, of course, the operative word here. I’d feel sorry for everyone involved except I watched this thing to the bitter end, well, over dishes in the sink. When I become more fascinated by scrubbing turkey pans than watching a movie, well, you know the movie isn’t worthy anyone’s time.

Give this rancid holiday chestnut a pass.

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