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Georg Stanford Brown
Richard Pryor is playing three different roles here. The first being a poor orange picker named Leroy Jones who gets laid off when by mistake he joins the worker's union during one of their demonstrations. Afterwards he is forced to leave his wife and family behind which also includes Leroy's father (also played by Pryor) to go to Los Angeles. Leroy ends up working for the same company that fired him back home. He is a manager at the company but he is now distant from his former pals. He meets and falls in love with Vanetta who is a labor organizer which leaves him splitting time between his wife Annie Mae and Vanetta. When Leroy finds out that the Reverend Lenox Thomas (also played by Pryor) has got his wife pregnant while he was absent, he then make the moves on the reverend's wife. Written by
Richard Pryor hilariously portrays three characters in Which Way Is Up?
It's been about 30 years since I almost watched the entirety of this movie (the only reason I couldn't was because I was 13 at the time and my mom wouldn't let me watch the rest when she caught me watching a sex scene!) so now that I have indeed done so on Netflix Streaming, I'm sooo glad I did! Richard Pryor must of had the time of his life making this movie with director Michael Schultz especially when-in the only time in his career-he portrayed three characters: Leading player Leroy Jones, his father Rufus, and reverend Lenox Thomas. The story deals with unions, promotions, adultery, sexual problems, and trying to find a balance of it all. Leroy has his hands full dealing with wife Margaret Avery as Annie Mae, Lonette McKee as social activist Vanetta, and Marilyn Coleman as Sister Sarah, wife of the reverend. Pryor's scenes with Ms. McKee are the most romantic, while his sequences with Ms. Avery and Ms. Coleman are the most comic. But they all have some poignancy about them that makes one care for them. Pryor himself is at his best with his takes on each character and the way Leroy changes his demeanor for whatever occasion. In other words, I found Which Way Is Up? quite hilarious so yeah, that's a high recommendation.
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