Brewster's Millions (1985)
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This excellent and hilarious story is played out brilliantly by Pryor and Candy, and it takes us on a spending spree that has its up and downs for poor Mr Brewster. Because of the nature of the movies theme, Brewsters millions is quite firmly rooted in the 80's when it was made, but it still entertains with ease and is well worth watching.
The plot is disarmingly (and misleadingly) simple. Montgomery Brewster (Pryor) stands to inherit a $300 million fortune from a long lost uncle (played by Hume Cronyn), whose will is videotaped. The catch? To get the money, Brewster must first spend $30 million in 30 days. An additional catch? After spending the $30 million in 30 days, Monty still isn't allowed to own anything. At first I still didn't think there would be that great a challenge, but in fact, as Monty discovers, it's hard to spend $30 million without actually purchasing anything of lasting value.
The movie progresses through Monty's spending spree on hotel rooms, parties, employees, the minor league baseball team he played for and finally his campaign to NOT be elected mayor. Other candidates spend millions to get elected; why not spend millions to convince people not to elect you? It's also interesting to see the reactions of his friends (especially Candy) to his squanderings, because another condition to the will is that he can't tell anyone what's going on.
It's really quite a lot of fun, and Pryor and Candy together make it worth watching.
8/10 - A bright and breezy comedy.
So, of course, everyone thinks he's a nut. including the lovely Lonette McKee (ATL, Men of Honor), who is supposed to oversea his spending.
The film features the late John Candy (Canadian Bacon) as his BFF. If you are not familiar with his work, this is an excellent choice.
Overall, the film is entertaining, nothing more, nothing less. It is also a nice introduction in allowing today's younger generation see the great man himself Richard Pryor and what a great talent he was.
The executives who formally give Brewster the money reminded me very much of the Dukes in "Trading Places". As it is, one of them is played by a man who seems to have spent much of his career playing bombastic executives: David White, aka Larry Tate on "Bewitched". He went from playing an executive in "The Apartment", to playing the boss of a man married to a witch, to playing an executive who gives $30 million to a rule-trashing cool dude. What a country indeed!
Anyway, the movie is at once a parable about profligacy and also just a plain old fun comedy. Brewster is a guy who, quite simply, knows how to party. Like I said, it's not the funniest movie ever, but you definitely get some laughs out of it.
The movie is based on a very catching idea. Such situation captures imagination at the first glance. However that's all. This film fails terribly to make any use of this great situation. Nothing really happens in this film. Our hero tries to spend the money, that's it. No adventures, no catches. There are two twist in the plot. One is when some investment returns actual money making the things worse. Unfortunately that's just a moment, no implication is present at any later point in the movie. (To be honest, nothing really has an implication in the plot. Random events lead to no consequences, that's the guiding idea behind.) The other twist is one of the most cliché you could imagine. Someone hired by those who would like to see Brewster fail to acquire the 300 millions tricks him to still have money before the deadline to spend everything. The clock is dinging and there comes a quick solution. Whoa...
If you try to imagine what would you do for just a minute with such opportunity, you'll certainly have hundreds of better and more exciting ideas than those in this movie. The plot is simply boring.
Regardless of the performance of the actors, the characters are boring too. There is no interaction between the main characters and it is annoying how unrealistic their reaction to the events is. Everyone is in total apathy except for Brewster.
If you can imagine what would you do in Brewster's shoes, keep it at that level, don't ruin it by watching this empty story.
Richard Pryor & John Candy did not work together enough, and this movie makes up for that loss. This film allows Pryor to do his manic over the top behavior just perfectly. It allows Candy to do his humor well too. The support cast seems to be well fitted with the stars and the show goes smoothly and funny without going too long.
Monte Brewster is a minor league pitcher for the Hackensack Bulls when the movie starts, who wins a game & promptly gets into trouble at a bar fight celebration after the game. He and Candy compliment each other well especially at the court hearing. Then they are amazed to be bailed out by a stranger who has been taking photos of Monty.
From Jersey, the stranger takes them to a law office in New York City where Monte finds out he is rich from his Uncle Rupert Horne. The catch is, does he want to be $1 million dollars richer or $300 million richer? In order to get the $300, he has to waste $30 million dollars and not have anything tangible to show for it in 30 days. From this premise, the insanity of Pryor takes over and fits perfectly.
He arranges for the Bulls to play the Yankees, hires a huge staff including his buddy Candy, & when his staff presents him with an unexpected $10 million dollar profit which puts him back where he started, he gets a desperate idea to spend the extra millions. With 2 shady characters running for mayor, Monty runs using "Vote None of The Above" as his campaign slogan. One reason I like this movie so much is my favorite political throw away line in any movie:
"I'm asking people not to send any money to my campaign. I'm telling you to keep your money, your going to need your money after this election."
I keep hoping those words "needing your money" aren't true after our election of Obama but he seems to be spending money fast than Monty. Maybe when he is done in office, he could star in a remake of this one?
The plot and the rules of the challenge are an absolute mess and endless list of inconsistencies. He was told that he was not allowed to buy somebody a diamond ring say, or have assets but then spent most of the film buying gifts and items which could be constituted as an asset.
The more that the film went on, the more daft that the premise became. When he was dishing out salaries he could have made each one bigger to spend more money.
** (out of 4)
Montgomery Brewster (Richard Pryor) is a failed minor league ball player who gets the chance of a lifetime when a relative he didn't know he had dies and offers up a $300 million dollar inheritance. The only catch is that he must enter into an agreement where he gets $30 million and must spend every penny of it without having any assets after a thirty day period.
If you're going through the career of Pryor then it's easy to see why he'd want to make this movie. It was a PG-rated comedy that would allow him to play cute and charming and get away from his foul-mouthed R-rated pictures. Pryor was certainly trying to change him image a bit and this was a good place to start. If you look at the film through the filmography of director Walter Hill then you have to guess that he made the film for the money or a chance to have a box office hit, which it turned out to be.
The George Barr McCutcheon play that this is based on has been filmed countless times since the silent era. There's certainly nothing ground-breaking done with the material here but there are just a few too many problems for it to overcome. For starters, the story itself is a rather interesting one because the viewer can put themselves into the situation and wonder what they'd do if they were in Pryor's shoes. That's the good thing but the only problem happens when there's nothing more to do.
I mean, the film starts off quite good as Pryor is in good form and his wild and maniac-style works very well early on when his character first gets the money and starts blowing it. However, this charm in the screenplay quickly runs out because there's nothing else for him to do but spend money. The love interest with his accountant is incredibly boring. The whole backstabbing of a certain cast member isn't all that interesting. Even the comedy runs out because how many times can you get the same laugh from the same type of joke?
As I said, Pryor is in fine form as is John Candy. One wishes the screenplay was a bit better at exploiting Pryor and Candy together. Hume Cronyn, Pat Hingle and Jerry Orbach are all fine in their roles and look quick for a young Rick Moranis.
Monty Brewster (Richard Pryor) was the sole heir to a fortune--but there was a catch. If he could spend $30 million in 30 days 1.) having no assets 2.) not give it away philanthropically or otherwise 3.) and have receipts for all money spent (and no he can't buy the Hope Diamond and give it away) all without telling anyone. Should he accomplish that then he would inherit $300 million. OR he could take the "wimp out clause" and just walk away with $1 million. Sounds easy right? Wrong!
The movie was a wacky series of events perpetrated by Monty Brewster to the bemusement of his friend Spike Nolan (John Candy) and his accountant Angela Drake (Lonette Davis). I remember the movie being a lot funnier in the 80's but it was still solid today. Sadly, at least three of the main characters are dead today: Richard Pryor, John Candy and Jerry Orbach.
John Candy is actually youthful and exuberant in this too. Rick Moranis has a cameo too. Great to watch. "Brewster's Millions" is a lot better than so many other comedies today, and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets dusted from the vaults again by Hollywood... I actually think director Walter Hill (48 Hours) did a good job. This really holds up well through the years.
Overall rating: 8 out of 10.