Club Paradise

Rasta Meets Satire

Club Paradise is more a satire than comedy although if you’re not paying attention you will not catch the clever sardonic wit Harold Ramis (director/writer) so aptly weaves through his film. He had help also with one of the most under rated writers in Hollywood, in my humble opinion, Bryan Doyle-Murry who also help pen Caddyshack and was a longtime writer on Saturday Night Live and SCTV.

The plot of Club Paradise is quite loose and involves an ex-Chicago fireman Jack Moniker (Williams) on disability retired in a fictional Caribbean island named St. Nicholas. Here he falls into the laidback life style of the locals and eventually teams up with Ernest Reed (Cliff) a reggae singer slash hotel owner in a battle of rich versus poor over property rights. With Monikers help they transform the broken down hotel into a resort and the movie follows the zany antics of the first affluent foreigners to visit the new ‘Club Paradise’.

While that situation leads itself to some brilliant comedy and worth any popcorn sit down viewing, there is much more at work here than just the madcap adventures of some fish out of water put in a tropical setting.

What you do see if examined more closely is some intelligent satirical comments on a culture war between the haves and the have nots. What is brilliant about Club Paradise is how subtle they do it and all to a snappy reggae beat that will have your toes tapping and your head bobbing singing, “Yeah Mon, I dig where ya comin’ from.”

Robin Williams is his comic genius self in Club Paradise as he allowed himself to relax in his early film roles. So if you like him in such other roles as Good Morning Vietnam or the Genie in Aladdin compared to when he gets that “I’ve got to send a message in my films” roles like Awakenings or Deconstructing Harry; both fine films though I prefer the comic to the preacher Williams.

What is amazing about Club Paradise and a lot of fun is all the small roles and actors who played them. There is no way a film like this could be made now days with such high quality actors. The acting budget for this troop now would topple the entire film budget. You will find yourself saying, “Oh, I know this guy! He’s great!” Acting small roles to perfection and worth a million laughs in Club Paradise are Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis and even Peter O’Toole delivers a good bit of acting in an almost throw away role for him.

Bottom line is this is a very nice little comedy with some great music that is perfect for a sit down and bowl of popcorn that is deeper in depth than your average mediocre farce. Have fun with this one the first time you watch it and look for all the subtext sometime later when your alone. View it the first time in a crowd and have a blast at Club Paradise.

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