Should I Watch..? 'Guest House Paradiso'

Updated on May 15, 2020
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin is a former volunteer DJ at his local hospital radio station. He has been reviewing films online for over fifteen years.

DVD cover for the film
DVD cover for the film | Source

What's the big deal?

Guest House Paradiso is a black comedy film released in 1999 and is essentially a big-screen spin-off of the TV sit-com Bottom. Written by the stars of the show Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmundson, the two play co-owners of the worst hotel in Britain who suddenly and inexplicably find themselves catering for a famous Italian actress trying to escape her violent boyfriend. The film also stars Vincent Cassel, Hélène Mahieu, Bill Nighy and Fenella Fielding and was also directed by Edmundson in his directorial debut. The movie proved disastrous among critics and the reviews were so bad that subsequent promotion of the film made more attempts to link the film with the more-warmly received TV show. It didn't work and the film barely recouped half of its estimated £3 million budget. What the film did do was allow Mayall time to recover from a devastating quad bike accident he suffered in 1998, something his fans will be eternally grateful for.


1 star for Guest House Paradiso

What's it about?

Richie, who is saddled with an unfortunate surname, and Eddie Elizabeth Ndingombaba run a small cliff-top hotel next to a run-down nuclear facility. The pair of them are complete losers - Richie is a lecherous pervert who enjoys engaging in petty theft and bouts of cartoony violence while Eddie is a hopeless alcoholic - and the hotel is easily the worst in Britain. The few members of staff they have are either escaped mental patients or illegal immigrants and the few guests they do have frequently leave without paying.

However, to their amazement, famed Italian actress Gina Carbonara arrives one day and wishes to check in. As she explains, she wishes to lay low to escape her over-bearing, violent boyfriend Gino Bolognese and where better than a hotel that even the locals deny the existence of? Together with the rather normal Nice family who arrive around the same time, things appear to be looking up for the pair. But Gino then arrives...


Main Cast

Rik Mayall
Richard "Richie" Twat
Adrian Edmundson
Eddie Elizabeth Mdingombaba
Vincent Cassel
Gino Bolognese
Hélène Mahieu
Gina Carbonara
Bill Nighy
Mr Johnson
Simon Pegg
Mr Nice
Fenella Fielding
Mrs Foxfur
Kate Ashfield
Ms Hardy

Technical Info

Adrian Edmundson
Adrian Edmundson & Rik Mayall
Running Time
89 very long minutes
Release Date (UK)
3rd December, 1999
The film is partly based on the TV sit-com "Bottom" and shares much of its inane DNA with the show.
The film is partly based on the TV sit-com "Bottom" and shares much of its inane DNA with the show. | Source

What's to like?

If you don't get a sense of how utterly puerile Guest House Paradiso is from the poster then you probably shouldn't be out by yourself. The film is almost an exact replication of the sit-com Bottom, itself a derivative of the more warmly remembered The Young Ones. The show, in case it passed you by, involves these two characters essentially trapped in a squalid flat and spend most of their time trying to get laid or smacking several colours out of the other. That really is all there was to it so who felt that there was enough material to make a feature-length film?

For fans of the show (and I counted myself among them), the film contains all the slapstick violence and comedic sound effects the show had as well as pushing the puerile humour as far as it can go and occasionally beyond. Mayall and Edmundson, who have played these characters in one guise or another for years, work hard throughout the film but there isn't much there to work with. At no point did I even smile, let alone laugh and remember, I enjoyed the TV show. By contrast, this felt idiotic, chaotic and utterly redundant.

Fun Facts

  • This was Pegg's debut feature film appearance. He would work again with Bill Nighy and Kate Ashfield in Shaun Of The Dead which is a British comedy that's actually worth watching.
  • Mayall considered the project a 25th anniversary of his partnership with Edmundson as production started about 25 years after they met at university and became a performing comedy duo.
  • Edmundson, who has never written or directed a film since, always wanted to do another movie but the characters were "retired" in 2003 after their fifth live Bottom stage show and Mayall died in 2014.

What's not to like?

The movie feels like a cross between legendary sit-com Fawlty Towers and the infamous Carry On series of films but on acid. The violence is silly, the dialogue is puerile nonsense, the performances are wildly over-the-top and the film sinks like the Hindenburg. I honestly cannot recall a single comedy that didn't make me laugh at some point but Guest House Paradiso has that unwelcome distinction. Perhaps the problem isn't with the film but the audience - given how popular Bottom was in the early Nineties, they hadn't reckoned on their audience growing out of this sort of comedy whereas Mayall & Edmundson haven't grown up one bit. They're like a pair of tragically unfunny uncles whose misogynistic, teenage toilet humour isn't as funny as it was in the Seventies.

The film is so bad that it almost ruined another completely different film I saw recently. Edmundson pops up in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as an Imperial officer on board a First Order vessel and his presence is so off-putting, I half-expected him to grab Kylo Ren and start ramming his head into a fridge. Guest House Paradiso is as toxic as its nuclear power station, infecting the careers of everyone involved. No wonder movie studios were reluctant to cast the pair after this car-crash of a comedy.

Future A-lister and Hollywood's arch-nerd Simon Pegg is one of a number of people presumably embarrassed by their cameo appearance.
Future A-lister and Hollywood's arch-nerd Simon Pegg is one of a number of people presumably embarrassed by their cameo appearance. | Source

Should I watch it?

Absolutely not. Guest House Paradiso is an unwelcome throwback to the days when the British film industry was propped up by increasingly unfunny Carry On films and lurid soft-core sex comedies like Confessions Of A Window Cleaner. It has no redeeming features at all - it isn't funny, entertaining or worthy of note at all. Consider this a warning - if you still watch this film after reading this review, consider yourself banned in future!

Great For: ummm… I'll get back to you.

Not So Great For: anyone looking for a comedy, anyone involved in the production, the British film industry, faith in humanity

What else should I watch?

There are a whole load of British comedies that are much better than this drivel. Let's begin with Withnail And I, a brilliantly written examination of two alcoholic actors colliding with sobriety at the end of the Sixties. The aforementioned Shaun Of The Dead is a genre-hopping tribute to the zombie films of George A. Romero and possibly the best British comedy this side of the Millennium. Going further back, The Ladykillers is probably the best of the Ealing comedies featuring Alec Guinness in fine form as the leader of a group of bank robbers coming up against an elderly landlady. In Bruges is a vastly under-rated comic thriller which sees Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell's Irish hitmen attempting to lay low in Belgium while satirist supreme Chris Morris' excellent Four Lions sees a bumbling would-be terrorist cell operating in London trying to pull off a potential attack.

And then, of course, you have the Monty Python movies. Monty Python's Life Of Brian sees the group in full-on blasphemy mode, a venomous satire of organised religion that continues to provoke ire and reverence in equal measure. But my personal favourite remains Monty Python And The Holy Grail, a more innocent tale of King Arthur's assorted Knights Of The Round Table battling indestructible black knights, carnivorous rabbits and insulting Frenchmen on their noble quest for the Holy Grail. Made on a shoestring budget which weirdly enhances the film's charm, it's the film that got me into Python in the first place and recommendations don't come higher than that.

© 2018 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)