Fool’s Paradise is a practically laugh-free Hollywood satire that is monotonous.
We review the 2023 film Fool’s Paradise, which does not contain spoilers.
Charlie Day is a gifted comic presence, with hits such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the Horrible Bosses films tucked away in his resume. (Also, check out the underappreciated I Want You Back).
However, he squanders a fun premise and takes away from his movie’s most significant asset — himself.
Fool’s Paradise Review and Plot Summary
This is Day’s feature directorial debut, and he also wrote the script, which goes on for an agonizing ninety-seven minutes that feels endless. Day plays two characters. The first is “Tommy,” the star of the next Billy the Kid movie who won’t leave his trailer.
To remedy this, the film’s producer (the late Ray Liotta) crosses his path with his doppelganger, Latte Pronto, who suffers from mutism.
That’s when Lenny (Ken Jeong), a sad sack of a publicist, thinks he has struck gold by signing Pronto as a client. Of course, Pronto’s elective mutism becomes a problem that limits his roles.
However, his popularity as the new star of the moment has him run into some of the more eccentric Hollywood figures.
Those include a madcap director (Jason Sudeikis, looking like Dave Grohl), a no-nonsense agent (Edie Falco), a now homeless and former star of The Dagger franchise (Common), a diva (Kate Beckinsale), and an actor who’s a Johnny Depp type (Adrien Brody) helps lead him through this narcissistic wasteland.
And that’s the crux of Day’s script: a one-note joke satirizing Hollywood. Yes, we can see Day’s point and themes of an innocent walking through La La Land with an unfiltered view of exploitation where studio heads view you as money-making machines rather than a person. However, the satirizing is endless and repetitive.
The key here is also a homage component to silent film stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. However, most of the film squanders any potential for vaudeville absurdity.
The one moment Day tries his hand at it, dropping a pitcher that bounces a basketball, is short-lived. However, I did find Pronto reacting to cinematic gunfire at the premiere adorable.
However, the movie’s lack of humor only makes matters worse. The zany characters do not even have a straight man to work with. Day only shows a handful of expressions that look confused at Hollywood players’ behavior.
The script could be more balanced when Jeong, in full Community mode here, is actually presented as the lead but goes absent for long stretches.
Banter, quips, or retorts are absent. Many outlandish statements by the impressive supporting cast fall flat, including a puzzling cameo by John Malkovich, who plays an influential person in business.
One of the few stories constructs where Common plays a figure inspired by Wesley Snipes’ Blade franchise has an amusing Bowfinger moment, but nothing stunningly. Nothing rises to the point of laughter.
Is Fool’s Paradise Good or Bad?
Fool’s Paradise is one of the year’s worst films. By silencing himself for practically the entirety of the picture, Charlie Day makes his film virtually laugh-free.
Is Fool’s Paradise Worth Watching?
Fool’s Paradise is not worth watching in theatres, video-on-demand, or when it finds a home on a streaming platform. The comedy’s ambition outweighs the film’s execution.
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