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Review: Fool’s Paradise (2023)

Fool’s Paradise (2023)

Directed by: Charlie Day

Premise: An idiot (Charlie Day) accidentally becomes a celebrity and drifts through Hollywood, his fortunes rising and falling.

What Works: Fool’s Paradise is Charlie Day’s project as he is credited as lead actor, director, and writer. Day acquits himself in his capacity as an actor. He’s silent through nearly the entire movie and the character is clearly an homage to Charlie Chaplin with a bit of Laurel and Hardy. Day has a talent for physical comedy and there are a few moments in which we can see hints of what Fool’s Paradise could have been with a better script and better direction.

What Doesn’t: Fool’s Paradise retreads territory covered by Bowfinger and Being There but it fails to understand the charms and successes of either film. Much like Bowfinger, Fool’s Paradise is about a guy who looks exactly like a movie star and an unscrupulous producer uses him in place of the established actor. Bowfinger was both silly and smart in the way it sent up Hollywood filmmaking. Fool’s Paradise substitutes satire with an endless string of cameos. This farce that has less insight into the entertainment industry than an episode of Entourage. Its portrait of the entertainment industry feels at least a generation too late and nothing here is relevant or interesting. Worse, it isn’t funny at all. This picture also apes Being There which featured Peter Sellers’ last great performance as an absent-minded gardener swept along in much the same way as Charlie’s Day’s character in Fool’s Paradise. But Being There had a charm and a sad soulfulness that is completely absent from Fool’s Paradise. This film is shrill and unpleasant to watch.

Disc extras: Trailer.

Bottom Line: Fool’s Paradise is a disaster. It’s not funny at all and the Hollywood satire is tired and cliché.

Episode: #982 (January 28, 2024)