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‘Trapped in Paradise’ (PG-13)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 02, 1994

"Trapped in Paradise" is a new comedy starring Dana Carvey, Nicolas Cage and Jon Lovitz, but considering that there isn't a single laugh in the whole picture, the term "comedy" must be used loosely.

The stars of this dilapidated dumb-guy vehicle portray the Firpo brothers -- Bill (Cage), Alvin (Carvey) and Dave (Lovitz). As the story begins, Alvin -- who is a kleptomaniac -- and Dave -- who's a compulsive liar -- are just being let out of prison. Bill, who is relatively normal, wants nothing to do with them. Despite his efforts to escape, though, Bill gets embroiled by his sibling ex-cons in a scheme to rob the sweetest bank in America. And where is it? Paradise.

Paradise, Pa., is Dream Town, U.S.A., a relaxed, cozy community where everybody knows everybody else. The citizens of Paradise are kind and generous and, above all, nice. Even though the bank has been robbed and their Christmas fund stolen, they besiege the Firpos, who can't seem to get out of town, with hospitality. And being wacky bandidos with hearts of gold themselves, the brothers decide, in a bold move, to un-rob the bank, putting the money safely back into the vault.

From here on, the high jinks are virtually nonstop. As the actor most likely to combust, Cage is always watchable. By now, his trademark tirades have become breathtaking improvisations, filigreed with rococo brilliance. Unfortunately, he is the only bright spot. And there is the question of what Carvey is actually doing with his voice, which he somehow makes sound like a congested combination of Mickey Rourke and Woody Woodpecker. Now that's something you don't come across every day.

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