Year 8, Day 121 - 4/30/16 - Movie #2,321
BEFORE: It's been a good month, I think I covered some material that I really have been itching to get to, like "The Martian", "Ant-Man", "Whiplash" and "Exodus: Gods and Kings". Plus I restructured my watchlist to not only get to the more important films earlier, but made it more accessible to films in current release, like "Batman v Superman" and "Nerdland", that's a huge deal if I can find a way to maintain that. It's more tricky to keep track of upcoming releases, but it seems to pay off.
I did a 9-film Robin Williams tribute last year, but obviously I missed a few, since I didn't wait for the third "Night at the Museum" film, and a few others rolled in as well, including "A Merry Friggin' Christmas". So I was going to save this one for Christmastime so that I had something to link with, but the re-ordering of the list moved it up, along with tomorrow's film. I'll worry about Christmas films when the time comes, I guess. Robin Williams AND Andrea Martin carry over from "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb", I can't ignore that.
THE PLOT: A Chicago firefighter who becomes injured on the job uses his disability money to retire and live the good life in a small Caribbean island called Saint Nicholas.
AFTER: A lot of great comedy talent shows up here, mined from the casts of both "SCTV" and "SNL", but most often it seems like they just weren't given anything to do. Falling back on slapstick comedy bits like a shower that won't work, then sprays with the force a fire-hose, or situations like two nebbishy guys who have trouble scoring with women, these are classic comedy tropes, just transported to a beach setting. But together they don't seem to add up to much.
The beginning is mainly about Robin Williams' character adjusting to island life, learning to open coconuts with an axe and developing a tan, and the end part gets into some socio-economic stuff as a bunch of greedy developers try to shut down the indepedent resort when they can't buy it, leading to an open rebellion among the staff and the island populace. But the middle part just goes nowhere, in fact since it doesn't know what to do with most of the characters they're essentially written out, some get lost in the jungle and one gets lost at sea. It's symbolic in several ways, since the plot seems to get lost along with them.
Most likely these actors jumped at a chance to make this film since it meant working in the Caribbean, after a number of years doing comedy in Canada, it probably seemed like a fantastic opportunity. Who wouldn't go film something in Jamaica, with airfare and all expenses paid by the studio? The only downside would be having to listen to a lot of reggae music and maybe deal with some spicy food.
Which sort of explains why the ending of the film feels so thrown together or tacked on, the actors and crew just really wanted to get to their vacation time.
Also starring Peter O'Toole (last seen in "The Stunt Man"), Jimmy Cliff, Rick Moranis (last seen in "Honey I Blew Up the Kid"), Eugene Levy (last seen in "The Man"), Twiggy, Joanna Cassidy (last seen in "Under Fire"), Brian Doyle-Murray, Joe Flaherty, Steven Kampmann, Robin Duke, Mary Gross, Bruce McGill (last seen in "Into the Night").
RATING: 3 out of 10 beach chairs