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Club Paradise (1986) – Much Aligned, but More Fun Than I Expected

Club Paradise, released in 1986 has never seen a positive review as far as I can see. This one will be positive – not raving, but positive.

This film stars Robin William`s as Jack Moniker as a retired fire fighter from Chicago who has moved to the small Caribbean island of Saint Nicholas and finds himself a partner in a run down resort called Club Paradise, with Earnest Reed, played by reggae musician Jimmy Cliff. Club Paradise, run down as it may be, just happens to be on the nicest stretch of beach on the island. The island’s corrupt Prime Minister is in cahoots with a business man (played by Brian Doyle Murphy), and his partners, to trick/ripp off Jack of Club Paradise in order to build a giant casino/resort.

Throw in the guests of Club Paradise – a cornucopia of SCTV alumni ( Andrea MartinEugene LevyRick MoranisJoe Flaherty, and Robin Duke), Peter O’Toole and some just generally wacky situations and you end up with what I thought was a silly, but enjoyable film.

I’m going to onece again refer to the Wikipedia article for the Plot summary:

Jack Moniker (Robin Williams) is a Chicago firefighter who gets injured on the job. Using his disability money, he decides to retire and live the good life in a small Caribbean island called Saint Nicholas. He buys a small amount of property there and lives among other washed-up personalities such as Anthony Croyden Hayes (Peter O’Toole). Appointed by the British crown as governor of St. Nicholas, Hayes is more concerned with vacationing than governing. Miss Phillipa Lloyd (Twiggy), who is visitng St. Nicholas with some sailor friends of hers, decides to stay permanently and becomes Jack’s girlfriend in the process. He playfully refers to her as “Miss Philadelphia”.

Jack befriends financially troubled reggae musician Ernest Reed (Jimmy Cliff), and they together form “Club Paradise,” which they market as a Club Med-style resort complete with a brochure that features photographs of Jack in various disguises on every page. This attracts a handful of tourists, including Barry and Barry (Rick Moranisand Eugene Levy) who are there for the pot and the women. Much of the film involves the tourists’ comic misadventures adjusting to island life and the low-rent facilities of Club Paradise. Also travelling to the island is New York Times travel writer Terry Hamlin (Joanna Cassidy) who ends up spending most of her time in the company of Governor Hayes.

Voit Zerbe (Brian Doyle-Murray) plays a key role, as a developer who wants to run Jack and Ernest off their property so he can build a massive high-end casino on the beach as part of a deal he’s making with two business partners – one Swiss, the other Arab. To do that, he uses the help of the local prime minister Solomon Gundy (Adolph Caesar) and the prime minister’s men to cause trouble and get Club Paradise to close “legally.” Jack and Ernest go so far as to sneak aboard Zerbe’s yacht to provide some “useful intelligence” for Governor Hayes by finding out what is going to happen to the future of Saint Nicholas. They skin dive to the yacht (not before Jack brings a heliumtank instead of an oxygen tank) where they are captured by local police and thrown in jail. When Prime Minister Gundy’s strong arm tactics don’t work, he orders a military takeover of the island. Ernest builds up a resistance force, and St. Nicholas is soon threatened with the possibility of civil war, which is averted at the last minute with assistance from Jack and Governor Hayes. When Gundy’s takeover fails, Zerbe and his partners leave Saint Nicholas and head for the Cayman Islands. Jack is then inspired to create a new tagline for the club: “Club Paradise: Your Hot Spot for Fun With Guns in the Sun.”

This film didbn’t win any awards, and did poorly at the box office, but if you’re looking for a simple, silly no brainer of a film that might make you smile, then I say check it out.

Here is the trailer:


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