Random Tropical Paradise


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Random Tropical Paradise
"A zero-calorie cocktail complete with umbrella, an instantly forgettable shag in a nightclub toilet, a Eurovision Song Contest semi-final loser."

Harry (Bryan Greenberg) is about to get married. Until he catches his dressed and veiled bride to be shagging somebody else in the back room of the church, that is. The obligatory unpleasantries are exchanged but overall, Harry is left feeling lost. What about the life they planned together? What about the honeymoon he booked? Should he just go back to work tomorrow? No way, says best friend Bowie (Brooks Wheelan). What's a best friend for if not to accompany a jilted man on the honeymoon of a lifetime himself?

The lightest of lightweight buddy movies, Random Tropical Paradise is the cinematic equivalent of an airport novel. It's a zero-calorie cocktail complete with umbrella, an instantly forgettable shag in a nightclub toilet, a Eurovision Song Contest semi-final loser. If you have nothing to do for an hour and a half it will help you pass the time in a cheery mood, but you won't remember its name in the morning.

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Everything here is by the book. The dubious competence of the trusted best buddy. The convenient supply of cannabis our heroes quickly find. The suitcase full of cocaine they wish they hadn't found. A yacht full of bikini-clad women, Joe Pantoliani as a mobster, Hawaiian shirts and a yellow filter borrowed from CSI: Miami. But the leads are likeable, the comedy generally good humoured, and the undemanding script sufficiently polished that you'll barely notice it sliding by.

Things have changed a little bit since Sixties stories of this type. Our heroes now have a diffident innocence about them and do an impressive job of not actually getting laid, whether being seduced by dangerous women with heavily armed husbands or actually finding themselves at an orgy. Their arrival at the honeymoon resort together means, of course, that everyone assumes they're gay, and the fact people are fine with this makes it more difficult to correct. There are some unpleasant misogynist comments thrown into the banter but the film doesn't really seem to endorse these and, with the exception of the cheating bride, women are treated with respect. This easy-going approach to defining masculinity makes our heroes' discomfort when placed in a compromising situation by their new mafia acquaintance more effective.

Ultimately, the film relies on the chemistry between Greenberg and Wheelan, which is at its best when the plot is at its thinnest, leaving them free to do their thing. A hotel room conversation about what films would be like if Danny Trejo were in them is a particular highlight, and leaves one hoping that the characters later encounter the joys of 3-Headed Shark Attack. There is practically nothing of substance in this film and, though glossy, it doesn't excel at style either - but sometimes that's exactly what a filmgoer needs.

Reviewed on: 12 Jun 2017
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Random Tropical Paradise packshot
When a groom catches his bride to be cheating on him, his best friend offers to take him on honeymoon instead.

Director: Sanjeev Sirpal

Writer: Sanjeev Sirpal

Starring: Bryan Greenberg, Brooks Wheelan, Spencer Grammer, Joe Pantoliano, Beth Littleford

Year: 2017

Runtime: 101 minutes


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