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Charlie Day's Directorial Debut, Fool's Paradise (2023) | Review

Promised as a love letter to classic silent movies, Fool’s Paradise instead attempts to bring modern humour to a timeless style of comedy, with little success.

A down-on-his-luck publicist discovers a former mental health patient who looks just like a misbehaving movie star. He soon becomes an unlikely celebrity when he gets thrown into the bright lights and behind-the-scenes bustle of Hollywood.

What felt like a disjointed arrangement of sketches, this film lacked any substance or emotion from the beginning. The primary character was a simple one dimensional mime with zero empathy or growth. The character of ‘Latte Pronto’ needed a clear journey from beginning to end but instead, the character simply coasted by his own story with no development. Charlie Day is an engaging actor with an abundance of talent, he can deliver slapstick comedy and absurdity but in this role, he lacked humanity and as a viewer I didn’t warm to his character in the slightest.

The secondary characters appeared to have no direction, each moving through their own distinct story with no relationship to one another. None of the actors delivered appealing performances and everyone felt disconnected from the narrative and the comedy. The humour on paper was strong, Charlie Day is a capable writer with an abundance of talent and skill but sadly, his cast didn’t do his words justice. Ken Jeong has a complicated actor, he has the potential to be funny but always over compensates. Jeong was a lead role but I wish he wasn’t, his acting style felt abrasive and distracted from the overall storyline.

The plot from the outside appeared to be intriguing, reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin or Mr.Bean style acting and comedy from Day. I was expecting heaps of physical comedy but was met with competitive, amateur jokes which fell on deaf ears. Actors shouting over one another and a central character with no drive or ambition, I can see the intention. I have tried to find the redeeming moments but sadly, I struggle to find any. Maybe it’s my own fault for expecting greatness, I had incredibly high expectations which potentially ruined my experience. I wouldn’t recommend this feature, it was uneventful.

It breaks my heart to write this review as It’s Always Sunny is my favourite show of all time, I was expecting to see a new side to Day’s acting and a glimpse into his capabilities as a writer and director. Charlie Day can write and he can act, that is no question but that doesn’t mean he can direct; this film simply needed more direction and attention to detail, it was too broad and simplistic.

Fool’s Paradise (2023) left me unfulfilled as a viewer and bitterly disappointed as a fan.


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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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