‘Fool’s Paradise’ Struggles to Make Its Silent Protagonist Truly Relevant

Ulises Duenas


Charlie Day directs, writes, and stars in “Fool’s Paradise,” a movie with some good ideas and a solid cast, but inconsistent execution. The film’s silent protagonist leads an inane story that seems like a modern take on the silent movies that featured an “idiot” or “fool” main character, but the bold gamble doesn’t pay off well.


Day plays a man recently released from a mental institution who has no ability to communicate with people and is largely unaware of the things going on around him. Making the character mute could have been done well, but when that character is also incapable of communicating, it makes it difficult to find him compelling. Even though his body language can be funny, it’s mostly up to the rest of the cast to deliver jokes -- which has mixed results.



Ken Jeong plays a desperate publicist who attempts to turn the "fool," who mistakenly takes on the name of “Latte Pronto,” into a showbiz star. Jeong's delivery is good and he would have had great chemistry with Day if he were allowed to speak. Other cast members like Edie Falco, Adrien Brody, and the late Ray Liotta do a good job with what they’re given, but they all have to bounce off Day’s character, which becomes a detriment to the movie. 


The film is full of cliches to show how vapid Hollywood is and how little it actually cares about people, and the jokes become hit-or-miss as things go on. It’s hard to say that making Latte mute was worth it because Day is a great comedic actor who is capable of delivering very funny lines. It’s not like Day is known for playing a silent character in anything else, and I couldn’t help but think how much better the movie would be if Latte spoke and was more aware of the events unfolding around him.


The sequence of events all play around with Latte’s obliviousness -- such as Latte doing a bump of cocaine without knowing what it is, landing the starring role in a movie about a mosquito-themed superhero, and winding up in a loveless marriage with another celebrity. Some of the scenes worked and offered some laughs, but too many are just there rolling out their jokes while I struggled to muster up a chuckle. 


While the movie concludes with a heartwarming ending, “Fool’s Paradise” is a movie that really shoots itself in the foot with its commitment to a silent protagonist. It’s a movie that doesn’t live up to the prestige of its cast, and while it does contain moments of comedy, it’s not enough to justify the entire runtime. 


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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