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Fool’s Paradise Review | Charlie Day’s Got the Stars, And That’s About It

While Charlie Day’s Fool’s Paradise assembles one hell of a cast, it’s an also painfully unfunny burlesque affair.



The cast for Charlie Day’s feature directorial debut, Fool’s Paradise, is so incredible you immediately feel that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble film. Aside from Day starring in his picture, we’ve got the talents of Ken Jeong, Ray Liotta (in one of his final performances), Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, Jason Sudeikis, Steve Coulter, Jason Bateman, Edie Falco, Dean Norris, Glenn Howerton (fresh off an Oscar-worthy performance in Matt Johnson’s Blackberry), Common, Jillian Bell, and John Malkovich.

Look at this. You couldn’t assemble a more diverse ensemble of comedic talents than this. Each actor has previously shown their comedic skills in previous film and television works and should be more than up for the task of starring in a movie where Day pays tribute to his burlesque icons Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, as he plays Latte Pronto, a “man of few words” who gets thwarted in plenty of insane situations after landing the starring role in a Billy the Kid movie.

And yet, all of their talents are wasted. Every single one. Sure, there are some funny moments here and there, but they seldom happen that you’re going to wonder exactly why did all of these actors sign up for something as bland and as unfunny as this? It’s even funnier that this was the end result when you learn that, in 2021, Day reshot parts of the film with Liotta, Beckinsale, Brody, and Jeong after Guillermo del Toro told him to write more material for the movie and scrap its initial title, El Tonto. I’m curious to see if the film’s original cut was vastly different than what we got, but I believe it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

It’s an even bigger shame when you realize how great of a comic Charlie Day is. His timing has always been impeccable, and everyone who has seen a clip of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia absolutely knows this. In Fool’s Paradise, he doesn’t seem as engaged in the material as in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is strange since he has written the script he directs. Day helms his script with the energy of a snail, lethargically swerving Pronto from one place to the next without any sense of momentum that would engage an audience member in wanting to see what hijinks his character will go next impatiently.

Fool’s Paradise [credit: Lionsgate]

That’s the thing with Chaplin and Keaton: they usually ended up in situations they didn’t want to be a part of but stupidly went along for the ride and continuously used their bodies to adapt themselves to the material. When you watch a film like Modern Times or The Cameraman, you can’t wait to see what Chaplin and Keaton will go through next because you don’t know what will happen and what they will be stuck in. And you can’t wait to see how their bodies react to what’s happening around them. The best physical comics use every facet of their body to engage the viewers in the spectacle and surprisingly adapt to everything in their environments. 

As gifted as a physical comic Day is, he barely uses his body to react to any situation. He lightly smirks or does what he’s told but doesn’t necessarily use a great expressive range that would make a film like this shine. Very few physical comedies nowadays, barring the Jackass films, understand that they’re primarily about their protagonists’ bodily contortions and quick thinking. The point of Fool’s Paradise is that Latte Pronto is never allowed to think. This happens whether he’s with his “publicist” (Jeong) or wife (Beckinsale) he seemingly marries without saying a word. And the bit wears itself out rather quickly and gets tired by the ten-minute mark of a 97-minute-long film. When you see a Chaplin or Keaton film, you’ll immediately recognize that they never overstay a joke’s welcome and always find new ways to innovate and surprise audiences (the entirety of Modern Times is based around Chaplin’s refusal of wanting to make a sound film, until we get to the point where he has to sing…). 

Fool’s Paradise never innovates in that regard and instead finds ways to make the comedy dumber and unfunnier as it goes along. Thankfully, a few cameos are enjoyable to watch, particularly the late Ray Liotta, who seems to have the most fun playing an overzealous producer trying to save an unmitigated on-set disaster with a method actor and a director (Coulter, also excellent in a small role) who couldn’t give two shits about what he’s making. Falco is also quite funny as Latte’s manager, and Glenn Howerton’s appearance surprised me, and he has one of the funniest scenes in the movie. 

But it isn’t enough to save Fool’s Paradise, an otherwise dull and unengaging comedy that seems to miss the point of every legendary physical comedy. I’m not saying that Day is the next Chaplin or Keaton, but he’s got the chops to follow in their footsteps and has already proven himself to be one of the funniest comedians alive. It’s a shame that his directorial debut had to be so unimaginative and lacking the physicality of a physical comedy. If you can’t nail that, forget the rest.


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Sex Education Season 4 is a Spectacular (and Overstuffed) Conclusion to One of Netflix’s Extraordinary Series



Official posted of 'Sex Education' Season 4 (Netflix)

When the first season of Sex Education came out on Netflix in 2019, it felt pretty daring and exciting for everyone. While there were many shows about teenagers and sex, ‘Sex Education’ stood out because it talked about these topics openly and covered them in a pretty detailed manner. Without any guesses, the show became really popular and is now considered a classic on Netflix. For 3 long seasons, viewers have seen students of Moordale, and everyone around them, dealing with a lot of complications, but now, it’s time to say goodbye to some of our character as the Netflix series has returned for its fourth and final edition.

At the end of Season 3, Moordale Secondary School closed down. This means that Otis, Eric, Aimee, Jackson, Vivienne, Cal, and Ruby have to go to a new school, Cavendish Sixth Form College. Some of them fit in well, while others struggle. And while Otis tries to focus on his therapy work, he finds out that there are other young people who are experts on relationships and sex in town.

Gillian Anderson as Jean Milburn in ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 (Netflix)

One of the strengths of Sex Education is its diverse and inclusive representation. The show shines a light on various sexual orientations, gender identities, and cultural backgrounds, providing a platform for underrepresented voices. Season 4 continues to explore these themes, introducing new characters who add depth and complexity to the narrative. On ghe other hand, the only problem with Season 4 is that there are too many things going on at once. There are so many sub-plots that might distract you at times and make you feel that this story might have looked good if there was another season in pipeline.

Even then, the writing remains sharp and witty, creating relatable and genuine teenage characters who grapple with their own insecurities and desires.

Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong in Sex Education Season 4 (Netflix)

The performances in ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 are consistently strong. Asa Butterfield brings vulnerability and charm to his role as Otis, portraying the character’s growth and maturity. Ncuti Gatwa shines as Eric, capturing both his strength and vulnerability as he navigates new relationships and personal challenges. Emma Mackey delivers a nuanced performance as Maeve, showcasing her character’s intelligence and emotional depth. Mimi Keene is stupendous as well and bring another layer to her character which was so nice to see. Meanwhile, Gillian Anderson does what she is best at: deliver another extraordinary performance.

Emma Mackey as Maeve in Sex Education Season 4. (Netflix)

On the other hand, Aimee Lou Wood continues to mesmerise us with her charm and simplicity. Directors should definitely look at her and give her a leading role soon because she deserves it. Another actor that is surely a star in the making is Anthony Lexa, who portrays Abbi in Season 4. Her performance adds an additional charm to the series and gives a hope to Trans actors that they can too achieve their dreams.

A still from ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 (Netflix)

The final edition tackles difficult topics with sensitivity and care, highlighting the importance of consent, communication, and understanding in relationships. The show’s ability to tackle these issues head-on without becoming preachy is a testament to its thoughtful storytelling.

While the final season of ‘Sex Education’ does have some pacing and narrative issues, the strength of the performances, the thoughtful exploration of important issues, and the show’s commitment to inclusivity make it a satisfying and engaging watch. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to these beloved characters, but the legacy of Sex Education will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the television landscape.

Sex Education Season 4. (L to R) Mimi Keene as Ruby, Asa Butterfield as Otis in Sex Education Season 4 (Netflix)

In conclusion, ‘Sex Education’ Season 4 continues to deliver a standout and boundary-pushing narrative that explores sexuality, identity, and personal growth with humor and sensitivity. Despite some minor flaws, the show remains a shining example of inclusive storytelling and offers a heartfelt farewell to its beloved characters.

Some goodbyes are hard and this is certainly one of them.

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Flora and Son is a Heartfelt Exploration of Family and Music



Eve Hewson and Oren Kinlan in a still from 'Flora and Son' (Apple TV+)

Flora and Son, directed by John Carney, tells the compelling story of Flora, a single mother struggling to navigate the challenges of parenthood and find her own identity. Starring Eve Hewson as Flora, the film dives into the complexities of motherhood, relationships, and the power of music in bringing people together. There have been a lot of musicals in recent times that take a very complex route in telling a story, but Flora and Son is a bit different than all of them. The story is really simple and that’s what makes the film such a treat to watch.

The movie opens with Flora enjoying a night out at a club in Dublin, only to end up in a disappointing hook-up. Flora’s life is far from perfect, as she grapples with her troubled teenage son Max (Orén Kinlan) and a less-than-supportive ex-husband, Ian (Jack Reynor). Flora’s interactions with Max are often tense, filled with sarcastic banter and strained attempts to connect with him. As a single mother, Flora faces numerous hardships and setbacks, leading her to doubt her own potential. Her attempts to do right by her son are often met with indifference or resistance. However, a pivotal moment occurs when Flora acquires a guitar for Max, unaware that it will have a profound impact on her own journey. Flora’s decision to learn to play the guitar leads her to Jeff (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a songwriter and teacher based in California. Despite the distance between them, their connection is palpable, and through music, they bridge the gap. Jeff encourages Flora to embrace her creativity and express herself authentically, unlocking a passion she didn’t know she possessed.

Eve Hewson in a still from ‘Flora and Son’ (Apple TV+)

The performances in Flora and Son are exceptional, particularly Eve Hewson’s portrayal of Flora. She effortlessly portrays a range of emotions, from humor and charm to vulnerability and raw emotion. Hewson’s nuanced performance brings depth and authenticity to the character, making her relatable and captivating. It will be a travesty if she is not spotted by a big filmmaker and gives her a chance to lead another extraordinary movie. On the other hand, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is soulful and gives a performance that is really enchanting. The chemistry between Hewson and Gordon-Levitt, even through virtual interactions, adds an extra layer of depth to their characters’ connection.

Carney’s direction creates an intimate yet heartfelt atmosphere in the film.  The use of music as a driving force in the narrative is a testament to Carney’s storytelling prowess, showcasing the transformative power of melodies and lyrics. One of the film’s strengths is its refusal to tie everything up neatly in a predictable manner. Instead, Flora and Son choose a more realistic approach, leaving some loose ends and logistics unresolved. This choice allows the characters to continue their journey of self-discovery, leaving viewers with a sense of hope and possibility.

Eve Hewson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a still from ‘Flora and Son’ (Apple TV+)

In conclusion, Flora and Son is a touching exploration of a single mother’s journey to find her voice, both as a musician and as a parent. With exceptional performances and a thoughtful narrative, the film resonates with authenticity and emotional depth. Carney’s direction and the film’s emphasis on the transformative power of music make Flora and Son a standout family drama. The simplicity and innocence is what makes it such a heart-warming watch. This film will make your heart sing.

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Love at First Sight Review | Netflix Makes A Great Rom-Com [For Once]

Despite a predictable story, Love at First Sight works tremendously well thanks to the impassioned performances of Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy.



This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and the actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Doesn’t it feel great to watch something that doesn’t feel trite or manipulative? You’ll be surprised to know that this film is coming from Netflix, the king of trite rom-coms. But their latest venture into this world in Love at First Sight is surprisingly good, thanks to the incredible chemistry from Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy.

Directed by Vanessa Caswill and based on Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the film follows Hadley (Richardson), who has unfortunately missed her flight to London by four minutes. She is traveling there for her father’s (Rob Delaney) wedding but dreads seeing him with another woman than her mother. While waiting for her next flight, she meets Oliver (Hardy), who also flies to London for her mother’s (Sally Phillips) memorial.

During the seven-hour flight, the two fall in love, though they get separated before exchanging numbers. At the wedding, she only thinks about reuniting with Oliver, who also longs to be with Hadley during the memorial. Therefore, Hadley attempts to travel through London, hoping to look for him, and you probably know how it will end from there.

Is it predictable? Yes, but it wouldn’t be a rom-com without some familiarity with the proceedings. However, a few effective “twists” prevent the movie from veering into manipulative territory, which is how most Netflix rom-coms usually end up being. For instance, the movie grinds Hadley’s story to a halt by showing us Oliver’s perspective when he gets off the plane, playing with time in a way that makes their relationship stand out above the pact of trite romantic comedies. The near-misses are ridiculous, but you still care about them in the end, even if you know they will fall in love by the time the film’s over. Otherwise, what’s the point?

The movie wouldn’t have worked without solid chemistry from Richardson and Hardy, but the two are dynamite together and perhaps the best pair I’ve seen in a studio-driven romantic comedy this year. They’re funny when they need to be to draw us closer to their surprising match, but they are also deeply human at their core. Some of the movie’s quiet and introspective scenes are strongest, especially near the latter half, where Oliver opens up to Hadley in ways he didn’t think were possible.

Supporting performances from Rob Delaney, Sally Phillips, Dexter Fletcher (yes, that Dexter Fletcher), and Jameela Jamil (playing one of the strangest movie narrators) are also decent, though some character arcs aren’t as developed as others. The way the film presents the narrator isn’t as properly defined as some other movie narrators, though Jamil’s presence is still fun.

The movie falters a bit in the protagonists’ relationships with their parents. It’s developed enough but still needs more meat around the bone for them to feel more complete, especially regarding Oliver’s relationship with her mother. The performances are great, but something feels missing. To talk about it would mean spoiling one of the film’s key subversive moments, which is much smarter than it has any right to be, so I’ll let you discover that on your own.

Still, Love at First Sight is far better than it has any right to be. From the looks of the trailer, it sounded like Netflix was back with yet another fake movie, but it released an earnest and affectionate rom-com that anyone watching will surely enjoy. The cynic in me thought it would be a total waste of time, but it was a breezy and memorable watch, thanks to Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy carrying the film until the end. The statistical probability of love at first sight is quite low, but it’s quite high for this film.


Love at First Sight is now streaming on Netflix.

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