An underemployed reporter finds himself literally purchased as a toy for a rich spoiled brat.An underemployed reporter finds himself literally purchased as a toy for a rich spoiled brat.An underemployed reporter finds himself literally purchased as a toy for a rich spoiled brat.
US Bates (Gleason), a wealthy, powerful Louisiana industrialist purchases, Jack Brown, a janitor (Pryor) to perform as an object for his spoiled son's amusement.
After an initial period of friction due to young Eric's (Schwartz) obnoxious, selfish behavior, they agree to investigate Bates's personal and professional misbehavior in a home-made newspaper, called "The Toy."
Infuriated, Bates demonstrates to the two investigators that he owns the people who work for him by ordering his assistant named Morehouse (Beatty) to drop his pants on command (he later screams at another assistant "I told you to dance!")
The iconoclastic rebels who finally take down Bates at a Klan fundraiser are Eric's innocent generation who never knew Jim Crow and the truth-burdened, unemployed black man with nothing to lose because he's already at the bottom.
This movie is filled with enough Pryor minstrelsy to keep movie-going Whitey occupied and chuckling, but is at the same time digging deep into the reality and shame of this country's racist past, and, indeed, present. And we haven't even addressed the alcoholic indentured man-servant Barkley (Hyde-White) or the Fraulein-who-cries-Mandingo (Leslie-Lyttle.)
From the buying of Brown to the sycophantic staff to the Senator-for-hire Newcomb (consonance: Nuke 'Em,) US Bates proves that slavery isn't over...people just cost a little more these days.
In this day when skirting the issue of race and playing it safe at the risk of being offensive has crushed any discussion of racism in this country, it's nice to see that Hollywood once had the balls to make a movie that called a spade a...well, you get it.
Oh, and the kid grows up to be a porn star.
- Dec 31, 2002