Friday, December 23, 2016

Trapped in Paradise

With tomorrow being Christmas Eve, it's a good time to mention the movie Trapped in Paradise The movie is available on DVD, and pretty inexpensively too, so I'm more then OK doing a full-length post on the movie even though it doesn't seem to be coming up on TV before Christmas.

Brothers Dave (Jon Lovitz) and Alvin (Dana Carvey) Firpo are up for parole. But you have to think they're the least likely to deserve it, since Dave is endlessly manipulative while Alvin is a kleptomaniac. But we'd have a much different movie if the two guys didn't get released from prison, so they do get paroled, to the care of their brother Bill (Nicholas Cage), who manages a restaurant in New York City.

Of course, the two criminal brothers can't help but go back to their old ways, immediately robbing a convenience store cash register. And to make matters worse, Dave points out that the police found Bill's ID at the store, implicating him. So the three of them have to beat a hasty escape.

Thankfully, Dave and Alvin have a plan. While they were in prison, they heard about the town of Paradise, PA, which goes in for Christmas in a big way every year. It's a town that's so nice, it would be easy to take them for a ride, if you were a criminal. And we have two criminals here. Not only that, but they heard about how to rob the bank in Paradise in very great detail while they were in prison. So Dave and Alvin rope Bill into a cockamamie scheme to rob that bank.

Of course, as in any good heist movie, things don't go according to plan. Bill meets Sarah (Mädchen Amick) and feels an emotional bond toward her that's going to make robbing the place more difficult. But the bigger problems come after the three brothers do, in fact, rob the bank. A snowstorm hits, preventing their escape. The criminal from whome Dave and Alvin learned about Paradise finds out what happened and is none too happy about it. And Bill finds the townsfolk are just so nice that it's really a shame to rob them on Christmas Eve.

There is stuff to like about Trapped in Paradise. The whole premise of the townsfolk being nice to the point that they're pushovers makes for a light-hearted movie, which is exactly the tone material like this needs. But I think the movie also has serious problems, down to the leads. Nicholas Cage does his best, but is still slightly miscast. Dana Carvey just comes across as too dumb, as though you want to shake some sense into him. And John Lovitz, playing a manipulator, turns up the shtick to 11, making you want to smack him over and over again. Boy is his character irritating. I just watched the ending of Mildred Pierce again the other night, and Jack Carson plays an excellent smarmy. Jon Lovitz just makes it tedious.

Ultimately, I'd say that Trapped in Paradise is the sort of movie that's entertaining enough for the Christmas season, but that there a lot of more memorable movies.

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