Director: George Gallo
Running Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes
A pair of parolees convince their brother to take them to Paradise, PA, so they can deliver a former cellmate's dying wishes to his daughter. Their real reason in going, unbeknownst to their brother, is to rob the town's very vulnerable bank. After completing the job, the three get trapped in Paradise by a blizzard where the town rallies to help the trio of bank robbers in their time of need.
"Trapped in Paradise" is written and directed by George Gallo, who is known for writing films like "Midnight Run" and "Bad Boys." It stars Nicolas Cage as Bill Firpo, a man with a criminal past who is doing his best to walk the straight and narrow. When his brothers Dave and Alvin, played by Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey, are paroled, they don't waste any time getting Bill in trouble. Dave, who is a compulsive and chronic liar, convinces their mother that he had a cellmate whose dying wish is to deliver a message to his daughter in Paradise, Pennsylvania. It also so happens this girl works at a bank that has almost no security. Gee, what could go wrong?! The opportunity and payoff are too enticing for Bill to pass up. Of course, after they pull the job, they discover the people they stole from are like the nicest people in the world who bend over backwards to help them in their time of need.
"Trapped in Paradise" is a moderately funny bungling crime caper with a Christmas twist. Nicolas Cage gets to shoot from calm to spastic to over-the-top within a second's notice, which is probably what he is best known for and what we look forward to every time we watch him act. There are some laughs throughout the film at his behalf. Lovitz and Carvey are veteran comedians and SNL alumni, and though the two get the occasional chuckle here, their characters wear thin the fastest, Carvey in particular with his chipmunk-esque voice and annoying chuckle. These three semi-buffoons wind up doing a decent job capturing the spirit of forgiveness and the all around good will towards others that should encompass the holiday. Even though the three protagonists had to initially be very selfish to learn that lesson, it all ties together fairly nicely in the end. The narrative is not the best ever. Sure, the Paradise townspeople are clearly the most gullible citizens ever and the bumbling robbers are a bit stupid, but we did manage to find some merit in this film. That being said, there isn't quite enough here to make "Trapped in Paradise" a real Christmas classic for us since it winds up being mostly forgettable.
My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 10%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
Last Christmas, we were watching: "Deck the Halls"
Two Christmases ago, we were watching: "Bad Santa"
Three Christmases ago, we were watching: "Love Actually"