This is as much an opportunity for Kelsey Grammer and Nicolas Cage to dust off their Southern accents as it is anything else. Grammer, who plays a cynical Deep South detective, sounds more like the kind of stereotypical Southern sheriff who tends to say things like, "You ain't from around here, are you?" And Nicolas Cage is, well, Nicolas Cage with a Southern accent. As the wife of Cage's character, KaDee Strickland is the alcoholic yet seductive older woman fond of mint juleps and the Billie Holiday song "Strange Fruit." The object of her seduction is a young man named Buddy (Luke Benward), who's just trying to provide for his family and is now stuck with these Southern Gothics until the hurricane passes. If this sounds like a layering of Southern cliche after Southern cliche, it's because it is, and yet, there's enough to the plot's twists and turns, as well as Cage's trademarked acting mannerisms, to keep it entertaining.
Grand Isle certainly isn't the stuff of Flannery O'Connor or Robert Penn Warren, but it's enjoyable enough for its own sake, with managed expectations. As an embittered ex-Marine, Cage pulls out all the tricks in his repertoire as he drunkenly lurches from rants about the military and the military industrial complex to menacing requests for Buddy to have sex with his wife. It's a chaotic mess and can be as hackneyed as movies set in the Deep South can get, and yet there's still enough in the story and in the action where you find yourself rooting for Buddy, and hoping that he can somehow prove his innocence.