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Trapped in Paradise

Directed by George Gallo. Starring Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, John Ashton, Madchen Amick, Donald Moffat, Richard Jenkins.

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Dec. 9, 1994

Trapped in Paradise? How about Trapped in the Third Ring of Hell? Interminably unfunny, this holiday offering about how the three Firpo brothers learn the true meaning of Christmas from the inhabitants of the quaint small town whose bank they've robbed is something of a crime itself. Taking bits and pieces from How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life, but forsaking the heart and soul of both, Trapped in Paradise flouts the laws of logic, common sense, humor, and narrative coherency. If it isn't the worst movie of the year, it's definitely in the running. Not surprisingly, SNL alumni Lovitz and Carvey give one-note characterizations that grow monotonous quickly -- when are these and other graduates of television sketch comedy going to learn the difference between five minutes and two hours? Carvey's voice in the course of the film is a particularly grating experience: Imagine an addled Mickey Rourke on helium, if you dare. Only Cage seems to connect with a notion of a character, as incongruous as his straight man might be; when he gets riled up, he's the only person in this movie who seems to be trying to enjoy himself. Rest assured that in the future, Trapped in Paradise won't find a place in the holiday fare that saturates television this time each year. By the time the finale of Trapped in Paradise ties itself into a sloppy Christmas bow, you're deadened to any feeling of peace on earth or goodwill toward men. Undoubtedly, this is a movie only a Scrooge could love.
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