Charlie Day has had one hell of a career by being the funny man in the long-running TV show Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
When you’ve been in Hollywood long enough, you get the itch to be one who jumps into the art of directing and writing films as well. If you’re going into this movie expecting a Always Sunny knee slapping good time then you’re setting yourself up for failure.
However, the premise of day’s latest film ‘Fool’s Paradise’ sets us up for failure based on the fact that the film tries to be a critique of the Hollywood system while missing one key portion that makes the whole thing work… awareness.
‘Fool’s Paradise’ is a film about a mute who goes by John Doe. John Doe has the mental capacity of a 5-year-old and he’s expelled from the mental institution once they realize they can’t cover the payments for his treatment.
Thrown into the main streets of Los Angeles, John Doe runs into a Hollywood producer played by Ray Liotta who is looking for a stand-in for a very difficult-to-work-with actor on the set of his latest film. Because Doe is a doppelganger to the British actor, the producer decides to let a physical stand in until the actor dies in preparation for the role.
Doe is thrown into the role of a Hollywood production and runs into a shady publicist who mistakenly gives him the name ‘Latte Pronto’. Latte Pronto becomes one of the biggest stars in Hollywood as people mistake his inverted demeanor as performance art and Latte becomes chewed up by the Hollywood System.
The premise would have worked 20 or 30 years ago, but Hollywood as an industry has exposed itself to be a lot darker than the industry is willing to admit itself on screen. This is a movie about a guy who was scooped up off the streets and thrown into the Hollywood Machine.
Charlie Day play an Avatar of someone who was chewed up and spit out by Hollywood and he manages to get numerous actors who we as work with over the course of the last 20 years to play the exaggerated pieces of that system.
Kate Beckinsale is the narcissistic plastic actress, Adrien Brody is the overconfident method actor, Ken Jeong plays the Shady publicist who steals all of the credit from his actors without doing any of the work. There are many aspects of this satire that should work but the fundamental problem is Hollywood is mocking itself as a way to downplay the reality of their own business.
The fact that Charlie Day plays a mute who’s reacting to the world around him is a premise that works out early but loses steam as the film goes on. The film is absurd but not absurd enough to strike at the ridiculousness of the movie industry.
‘Fool’s Paradise’ is a movie that fails because Charlie Day tries to do too much in his first shot. Deciding to act,write, and direct his first major feature was a creative mistake by a novice trying to play a veteran’s game.