Trapped in Paradise

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Trapped in Paradise
Trapped in paradise poster.jpg
Directed byGeorge Gallo
Produced byGeorge Gallo
Jon Davison
Written byGeorge Gallo
Music byRobert Folk
CinematographyJack N. Green
Edited byTerry Rawlings
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 2, 1994 (1994-12-02)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$6 million[1]

Trapped in Paradise is a 1994 American Christmas-themed crime comedy film written and directed by George Gallo and starring Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey.


At Christmas time, New York restaurant manager Bill Firpo's (Nicolas Cage) brothers Dave (Jon Lovitz) and Alvin (Dana Carvey) are paroled early and placed in Bill's custody. Dave and Alvin ask Bill to take them to Paradise, Pennsylvania to do a favor for a fellow inmate of theirs. Bill refuses as his brothers are not allowed out of the state and he knows Dave's pathological tendencies. He only agrees after getting linked to a robbery his brothers committed.

When they discover Paradise's bank is light on security, Bill feels the urge to rob it if he had a gun. There are guns in the car Dave and Alvin borrowed. With Alvin driving a stolen car, Bill and Dave storm the bank in ski-masks. The bank president's wife (Angela Paton) tells them that the bank safe door is locked and the president, Mr. Clifford Anderson (Donald Moffat), is on lunch. While Dave stays in the bank, Alvin and Bill charge into the restaurant, taking Mr. Anderson and the restaurant patrons back to the bank. Bill and Dave gain access to the vault and soon rush out of the bank with $275,000, with Alvin driving the getaway car.

While trying to get out of town, Alvin gets them lost. A police car turns on the sirens and they try to evade getting caught. Because of slick roads, they drive over a bridge. The police officer does not see them crash and drives past the bridge, but another car stops and offers them a ride. Due to the interstates being closed, the man takes them to his relatives. Upon arriving at the house, they find out it is the house of the bank president Mr. Anderson. However, the relatives don't recognize them.

Vic Mazzucci (Vic Manni), the inmate who gave Dave and Alvin the tip about the low security of the bank, gets enraged that they robbed the bank and busts out of jail. He and his henchman, Caesar, take the Firpoes' mother, Edna (Florence Stanley) hostage, and threatens to kill her unless they give him the stolen money.

Bill gets bus tickets, and while getting out, the FBI asks him to open the bag he is carrying with him, which contains all of the money. The bag is grabbed by Ed Dawson (John Ashton) and Clovis Minor (John Bergantine), two inept shopkeepers, made "deputies" by the local police chief. Bill tricks the FBI by shooting rounds from Ed's gun in the ground making the crowd run around and gets away with his bag. However, they miss their bus. They then try to get away via canoe. The canoe is headed towards a waterfall and Alvin falls into the water. A nearby family pulls Alvin out of water and saves him with CPR.

Alvin then steals a horse carriage from the police chief's son, Timmy. The feds chase the carriage, but after they drive into the forest the police cars are unable to continue the chase. They ditch the horse carriage and decide to hitchhike. However, the horse, Merlin, and the carriage get pulled into the water, causing the brothers to save him and go to a truck stop instead. There, Bill and Alvin decide to return the money to the bank while Dave refuses, knowing that their mother would be killed if they do so (Bill and Alvin are unaware of this). Alvin then reveals to Bill he is not wanted in New York and that they scammed him. Upset, Bill leaves his two brothers, then heads off to return the money and asks strangers for a ride to Paradise. By coincidence, he winds up getting a ride with Vic and Caesar, who are holding his mother hostage in the trunk. Bill shows them his mother's picture, whereupon Vic tries to shoot him so he can get the money Bill has in the bag. Bill jumps out of the car and escapes, rescued by Dave, Alvin and Merlin.

They try to get the money back into the bank but trigger the alarm. They then give the money to a church with a letter requesting to return it to the town's people. Trying to get away, Ed and Clovis (who had sold the Firpoes the ski masks before the robbery) recognize them and want the money for themselves. Ed and Clovis grab the brothers and take them to the Anderson house, while followed by the police. Vic and Caesar are holding the Andersons hostage, along with Timmy, Edna and Sarah (Mädchen Amick), Vic's daughter and a tenant of the family. Upon entering, Ed gets knocked out, while Clovis and the Firpoes are also taken hostage.

The police see the license plates on the car in front of the Anderson house are from a stolen car, and therefore order Vic and Caesar to come out with their hands held up. While the inmates are busy figuring out what to do, they get attacked by Timmy, who immobilizes Caesar and shoots Vic. The police rush into the house and take everyone to the office. There, FBI agent Shaddus Peyser (Richard Jenkins) tries to figure out what happened, and because the town's people hide what they know about Bill, Alvin, and Dave and the church pastor returns the money to the police, they release them. Bill stays in Paradise to be with Sarah, while Alvin and Dave return with their mother to New York.



Trapped in Paradise holds a 10% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 20 reviews, and the average rating 3.1/10.[2]


  1. ^ "Trapped in Paradise". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Trapped in Paradise (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-04-11.

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