In this film that closely parallels his own life story, Richard Pryor plays Jo Jo Dancer, a popular stand-up comedian who has severely burned himself in a drug incident. As he lies unconscious in a hospital, his spiritual alter ego gets up and begins a journey of his own. He revisits his life, from growing up in a brothel as a child and struggling to beat the long odds to become a top rated comedian. However, his success brings new problems as he develops a tragic pattern of substance abuse that begins to screw up his life. All the while, Jo Jo's spirit watches these events and attempts to convince his past self to turn off from his path of self destruction. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Pryor's directorial debut, delivers on all cylinders
Not only is this movie funny, but it's also clever as in it's idea, of having a clone of the Richard Pryor character as his savior. As we know, all comedians have suffered severe depression or encountered some horrible times in their lives. Coked up, an alcoholic too, Jo Jo (Pryor) severely burns himself. Coming out of it, enter the other Pryor, the voice inside his head, the apparition, telling him to get his life back on track. Obviously, bits of the movie are inspired from Pryor's background. The movie starts with Jo Jo as a kid, living with his mother, who (hows this?) manages a whorehouse, so he gets to the savor the tasty sights through peepholes, or through having his ears pressed up against the doors, hearing those joyous sounds of sex. As he grows up into his late teens, he tells his mother he's gonna become a comedian. Obviously her initial response has her laughing aloud. So he leaves and toughs it on his own, while later becoming involved with two women, the latter, Debbie Allen, wanting to see him dead. This is a strong drama, too a comedy, that's balanced well, but more a drama. Richard's stand up stuff here is top notch, just as good as his real stand up, where both are potent, with their much undeniable truth surfaced underneath. You can't help thinking, some of the real Richard has been incorporated into his character, Pryor, just as good a dramatic actor, as a comedic one. The explanatory joke involving birth, really cracked me up. Watch out for Wings Hauser who Pryor knocks out, when finding him and his first girlfriend in an uncompromising position, doing blow whatever. An anti drug alcohol movie in part, this shows the pitfalls and struggles of the virgin comedian, the highs and lows they encounter, the humiliation and bitter disappointments, he must first endure. and . The movie also features Marvin Gaye's "What's going On" over a montage. Allen (Fame) as Pryor's second wife is particularly good. A movie treat for Pryor fans or peepers, for that matter.
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