FOOL'S PARADISE (2023)
Release Date: 05/12/23 [Cinemas]
Studio: Roadside Attractions / Lionsgate
"A fool for love becomes an accidental celebrity only to lose it all."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Charlie Day's Fool’s Paradise was an indie comedy to look forward to, Day's humor (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses) has always brought a smile to my face and he has always brought a charismatic energy to his roles. Unfortunately in Day’s first directorial feature Fool’s Paradise, his energy is confined to a static, one note character named Latte Pronto (he was mistakenly named after the beverage…). Latte doesn’t speak throughout most of the movie, leaving a muddled, silent movie-esque performance from our protagonist. Most scenes feature Latte mindlessly wandering into Hollywood cliché after Hollywood cliché. His reaction to every situation is akin to a surprised ‘deer in the headlights of Hollywood’ skittishness. This is charming at first, but quickly wears off due to the unrelenting redundancy and lack of character development for Day’s Latte Pronto.
Latte is a hollow vessel with no depth (all foam, no coffee). The audience isn’t given much reason to root for or care about the character as he fumbles his way into blockbuster stardom by chance, and quickly plummets back to earth. His character is completely oblivious and unaffected emotionally by what would be a rollercoaster of emotions for any other person dropped in these scenarios.
The ensemble cast is impressive and loaded with a variety of some of my favorite actors/comedians including: Jason Sudeikis, Andrew Santino, Kate Beckinsale, Dean Norris, Edie Faldo, Adrien Brody, Ray Liotta, Common, John Malkovich, Glenn Howerton…(my fingers are getting cramped from typing all of these wonderful actors names). Even with this star studded, versatile ensemble cast, many of them make very brief appearances and aren’t given enough screen time to grow or be utilized fully. Most of them are gone in a blink of an eye and are seemingly present only for the ‘Hey look it’s (insert name)! I love them!’ cameo effect. I wish these wonderful actors were given more time and dialogue.
On a more positive note, the film’s look is crisp and features vibrant colors and makes the most of minimalist set pieces on its low budget. Writing, directing and starring in a film are all massive undertakings on their own, but doing all 3 at once, and for the first time, is a juggling act few are prepared for. While I do not recommend this movie, I do have a positive outlook for Charlie Day’s future potential as a filmmaker.
Sidebar: I am curious what this movie looked like before a reported last-minute 27 page rewrite/reshoot at the advice of Pacific Rim collaborator Guillermo Del Toro. While I would also do whatever Guillermo Del Toro advised me to do, I’m not sure Fool’s Paradise was ever trying to be a Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shape of Water. We may never know…unless what ended up on the Fool’s Paradise cutting floor somehow finds its way onto a reel of a future Pacific Rim movie.