Twelve Days of Christmas Review #7: Trapped in Paradise (1994)

More like Trapped in Eyewear-adise!  (I know this pun is terrible, but so is the movie).

Subgenre:  Comedy / Nicolas Cage

Summary:  Three brothers, all of whom are criminals, decide to rob a Pennsylvania bank on Christmas Eve.

Review:  Bill Firpo is a straight-laced New York restaurant manager, despite his past as a criminal.  When his two ne’er-do-well brothers Dave and Alvin are released from prison, they convince him to travel to Paradise, Pennsylvania to take care of some business for a friend on the inside.  Once they arrive, Bill can’t help but notice the local bank’s lax security, and finds himself unable to fight the temptation to pull one last job.  But after the robbery, a snowstorm leaves the three men…well, you know, and they’re forced to wait it out with the friendly locals.

Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey have all been funny in other movies, but they flounder here thanks to the sub-par material.  Cage, the straight man of the group, is far too restrained – a movie this bad needs him to be turned up to eleven.  Lovitz, for his part, is just there.  And then there’s Carvey.  It’s unclear whether his character is merely speech-impaired or genuinely retarded; whatever the reason, his voice will make you envy the deaf.

The problem with Trapped in Paradise isn’t its predictable plot (spoiler: Bill learns that the love of others is what’s really valuable), but its feeble execution.  There are no memorable jokes, lines, or scenes; and the whole thing feels somehow both overlong and slight.  I started forgetting this movie before it was over.

The Verdict:  Boring and joyless, Trapped in Paradise is for Cage completists only.  I give it three brotherly bandits out of ten.

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