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Movie Review

Trapped in Paradise

Reviewed by: Josh Johnson

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Relevant Issues
Cover Graphic from Trapped in Paradise

Thieves in the Bible


Paradise in the Bible

Featuring: Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, John Ashton, Madchen Amick
Director: George Gallo, Martin Walters
Producer: _____
Distributor: _____

Christmas-related them movies abound in plenty. While some are worth your time, many others out there will simply never stand out in the crowd for one reason or another. “Trapped in Paradise” is one of the overcomers, focusing on a unique plot in which a team of bank robbers decides to return the money they stole.

“Trapped in Paradise” is about the Firpo brothers: Bill (Nicolas Cage), Dave (Jon Lovitz), and Alvin (Dana Carvey). Bill is a low-paid nobody, and Dave and Alvin are both ex-cons. At Christmas time, they go to Paradise, a small town where everyone is unusually friendly. After they realize that the local town bank has practically no security, they decide to rob it. But during their getaway from Paradise, their car crashes. A kindly local finds them by the side of the road and invites them to come eat dinner with him and his uncle, who just happens to be the bank president. Meanwhile, the Feds and two witless deputies are on the trail of the Firpo brothers. Due to a winter blizzard, however, the Firpos are trapped in Paradise and are forced to get to know the people they wronged.

This is one of the few Christmas movies that emphasizes Christian forgiveness. Early in the film, someone recognizes Bill’s voice as one belonging to a bank robber. Instead of turning them in, she tries to convince them to do what they know is right.

There is some violence and cursing, but no sex. In the first five minutes, we see Bill at confession, talking to a priest about how he considered keeping a wallet he found on the street. Then we see the priest doing a crossword puzzle. Bill is clearly the most moral of the brothers, and their mother is very religious. She doesn’t say “Christmas”. Instead, she says “The day Christ was born”. However, she curses, too.

This is one of the few secular Christmas movies that I would recommend. One problem with “Trapped in Paradise” is that it would have fared better as a drama rather than the comedy it is billed to be. Still, it fares much better than any “How (insert name here) Saved Christmas” movies.

Viewer Comments
I saw this movie a few weeks ago with my parents, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nicholas Cage is a superb actor and certainly kept me interested and amused throughout the film. I think that “Trapped in Paradise” is a rare film, because it focuses on the redemption of three men that appear to be rather un-redeemable. Robbing a small town bank of a huge sum of money and escaping with the precious cargo, hardly gives the viewer a shred of hope that these fellows are going to return what they have taken. However, their hearts are changed as the kind citizens of Paradise are nothing less than hospitable and Christian-like towards the thieves. Not only does this movie teach forgiveness and fresh starts, it is hillarious, and I found myself roaring during certain scenes. The dialogue is great (sometimes offensive, but for the most part, funny), and the cast is believable and entertaining. I recommend this film to anyone 13+ due to the language and some of the violence, but enjoy yourself. I did. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Amber, age 19