Fool’s Paradise

Charlie Day in FOOL’S PARADISE. Courtesy of Roadside Attractions.

The cast list of Fool’s Paradise is a who’s who of fantastic actors and I’m a fan of so many of them. I was not, however, a fan of the story in Fool’s Paradise. I’m not sure what it was about it, but it just didn’t resonate with me. Sure, I laughed watching it… again look at the cast list, how could you watch this film and not laugh. I just didn’t enjoy it. I’m not sure if I can put my finger on the reason for this, but I think that it ultimately came down to the fact that I didn’t see a reason for this film to exist. Typically, a film will entertain, tell a story, or evoke emotion – this film didn’t really do any of that… It exists and is occasionally funny, but that’s all that it was.

What I did enjoy about the film, and the reason why it got the rating I gave it, is that the cast is amazing. Charlie Day is a comedic genius and he played his silent character perfectly. As far as I can tell, Charlie Day wrote and directed this film simply to showcase how amazing he is as a comedic actor.

I knew when the time came for me to direct my first film, I would make it in the style and tone of what I’ve done with Fool’s Paradise. My initial inspiration was simple: I love movies like Being There. I felt as though they were never going to be made again, and I wouldn’t be given a chance to perform in a movie like that so I had to make one. Fool’s Paradise borrows a bit from an older style of movie like Airplane or Being There. Writing in that style and tone and then directing and acting in it made complete sense.

Charlie Day, writer/director/actor

I think where the film really lost me is that it is over the top, but it pulls back and reins itself in. Had the film fully embraced the style of Airplane, it would have been a slam dunk in my eyes. Instead, that concept is abandoned and that’s where I start to feel lost. I don’t want to see something done halfway.

I started out trying to make a biting satire about fame, fortune and celebrity because it seems to be our highest form of American currency. I wound up ditching that for a story more centrally-focused on how having a meaningful connection with another human being is life’s most valuable currency.

Charlie Day, writer/director/actor

I disagree with Day that he wound up ditching it. The majority of the film is satire around that concept with brilliant actors like Jason Sudeikis, Jillian Bell, and Edie Falco really lending themselves to that idea. However, the film then drags, losing the satire and becoming very muddled. When we come out the other end, we get the concept that Day describes with a focus on meaningful human connection, but that gets lost after spending so much time looking at a satirical view of Hollywood.

While the actors all delivered exactly what was required of them, the film doesn’t come together in the way that I feel Day wanted it to. Something was lost along the way and that loss definitely hurts the film. He had all the pieces – a great cast, the budget, and a great story – and then decided to pivot the story in a way that makes you feel like you’re watching two distinct movies. A completely satirical view about Hollywood and stardom and the fickle nature of the industry that starts out on high notes, and a buddy comedy about finding someone that you can truly be yourself with and connect with that lacks any formal conclusion or wrap-up.

That’s my take… I went in expecting what the trailer described and walked away disappointed and I think my review reflects that. The cast were all excellent and I cannot fault them at all, I just didn’t get what I wanted out of this experience and I found that to be very disappointing.

Fool’s Paradise will be released in theatres on May 12.

Fool's Paradise

Movie title: Fool's Paradise

Movie description: A satirical comedy about a down on his luck publicist, Lenny, who gets his lucky break when he discovers a man recently released from a mental health facility looks just like a method actor who refuses to leave his trailer. With the help of a powerful producer, Lenny helps the man become a huge star, and even marry his beautiful leading lady. Their adventures lead them to cross paths with drunken costars, irreverent unhoused action heroes, unpredictable directors, a super agent, and power mad moguls. Fame and fortune are not all they are cracked up to be, and the two men must fight their way back to the things that matter the most.

Date published: 2023-05-12

Director(s): Charlie Day

Actor(s): Charlie Day, Ken Jeong, Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, Jason Sudeikis, Edie Falco, Jason Bateman, Common, Jillian Bell, Dean Morris, Jimmi Simpson, Ray Liotta, John Malkovich

Genre: Comedy

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