Trapped in Paradise

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Trapped in Paradise
Trapped in paradise poster.jpg
Directed by George Gallo
Produced by George Gallo
Written by George Gallo
Starring Nicolas Cage
Jon Lovitz
Dana Carvey
Music by Robert Folk
Cinematography Jack N. Green
Edited by Terry Rawlings
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
December 2, 1994
Running time
111 minutes
Country USA
Language English
Box office $6,017,509[1]

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


At Christmas time, Bill Firpo (Nicolas Cage), a straight-laced New York restaurant manager, gets an unpleasant Christmas gift. His brothers Dave (Jon Lovitz) and Alvin (Dana Carvey) are paroled early due to overcrowding and placed in Bill's custody. Dave and Alvin ask their brother to take them to Paradise, Pennsylvania to do a favor for a fellow inmate of theirs. Bill refuses because one, his brothers are not allowed out of New York State and two, he knows Dave's pathological tendencies. He only agrees after getting tied to a robbery their brothers made via his dropped wallet. When they discover Paradise's bank is light on security, Bill feels the urge to rob it if he had a gun. Fortunately, there are guns in the Infiniti sedan Dave and Alvin borrowed. With Alvin driving a stolen decrepit car, Bill and Dave storm the bank. The wife of the bank's president (Angela Paton) tells them that the bank safe door is locked and the president, Mr. Clifford Anderson (Donald Moffat), who has the key, is having lunch in the restaurant nearby. While Dave stays in the bank doing yoga breathing with the hostages, Alvin and Bill charge into the restaurant and call in a robbery. They order all customers to come with Bill to the bank so that no one calls the police when they go. Mr. Anderson opens the safe's door and Bill checks for motion sensors via a perfume spray. He steps over the sensors, gets the money, but while getting out of the safe, he touches the sensors via one of the money bags. Bill and Dave rush out of the bank and get away with their crime, stealing $275,000.

While trying to get out of town with their car and stolen money, Alvin, who's driving, gets them lost. A police car turns on the sirens and they try to evade getting caught. Because of slick roads, the Infiniti drifts over a bridge and gets wrecked. 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 to stay over for Christmas. 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 because they were covering their faces with ski masks while robbing the bank.

Vic Mazzucci (Vic Manni), the inmate who gave Dave and Alvin the tip about the low security of this bank, gets enraged that they robbed the bank and busts out of jail. He and his henchman, Caesar, takes their 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 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 were unable to continue the chase. They ditch the horse carriage and decide to hitchhike. However, the horse, Merlin, and carriage get pulled into the water making the brothers 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 he's had his brother's wallet, all along. 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. 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 through using the wrong safe door key. 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 sees the license plates in front of the Anderson house of 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.



  • Filming was done in Ontario, Canada in several cities, and towns. Including Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Elora.[2]
  • It is said that production was very unpleasant. Actor Jon Lovitz mentioned the crew began referring to the film as "Trapped in Bullshit".
  • At NYU during a master class session revolving around the film, Jon Lovitz admitted that the film was "shit." [3]


Trapped in Paradise received negative reviews from critics, as the film currently holds a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


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