Content: -1 Discretion advised for older children.

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TRAPPED IN PARADISE might have been more appropriately entitled "Hindered by Mediocrity." This highly derivative film about three brothers from New York who rob the only bank in the sleepy town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, on Christmas Eve never gets off the ground. Poor writing and indifferent acting only magnify the inadequacies of the plot.


(NA, LLL, V, M, AB, FR, Ho, B) Feel-good moral relativism; 20 obscenities, 10 profanities & 5 vulgarities; action violence & man shot in shoulder; bank robbery, shoplifting & lying; Roman Catholic confession mocked; brief mention of karma; subtle reference to homosexual rape in prison; and, minister encourages man to forgive.

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Comedy is a strong word for the inane and humorless TRAPPED IN PARADISE, a movie about three New Yorkers who rob the only bank in the sleepy town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, on Christmas Eve. Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey are Dave and Alvin Firpo, two criminals thoroughly unregenerate after their most recent prison sentence. As soon as they receive parole, they initiate a plan to rob the poorly secured small-town bank. They also involve their unwitting brother Bill, played by Nicholas Cage. Bill loses his innocence quickly when he sees the bank is easy prey. Dave, Alvin and Bill successfully rob the bank but cannot find a way out of town. At each failed attempt, unsuspecting residents of Paradise rescue them and shower the stranded strangers with hospitality and gifts. Prolonged exposure to this simple life and the integrity of the people who live it slowly affects the Firpos. They realize that the money does not belong to them and return it. Touched by their transformation, the people of Paradise lie to the FBI to protect the brothers from prosecution.

The Capra-esque ending to TRAPPED IN PARADISE hardly makes up for its many weaknesses. Marred by haphazard character development, unresolved plot conflicts and an endorsement of dishonesty, the film is completely ineffective.

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