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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Retro Review: Brewster's Millions (1985)

Brewster's Millions 
Cast: Richard Pryor, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Lonette McKee
Genre: Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $45 million 

Plot: After losing his position as a minor league pitcher, Montgomery Brewster learns his great-uncle has left him $300 million. To inherit it, Brewster must spend $30 million in 3 days under a complicated set of rules that forbid him from donating too much to charity or retaining any new assets when the period is up. Unable to share details about the will's odd conditions with anyone, Brewster sets out to spend his money under the stern eye of paralegal Angela Drake  

'Interesting Premise, But Where's The Comedy?'

When struggling minor league baseball player, Montgomery Brewster inherits a huge fortune, he has the virtuous task of spending $30 million, fast before he can get his hands on the massive fortune. With a plot such as this for a comedy, one would expect funny hi-jinks, madcap situations when they spend the money on the silliest and craziest things, as well as slapstick and funny scenes. 

Not so with Brewster's Millions, as it doesn't have that: in fact, my feelings towards this movie echoes precisely my exact thoughts about Fletch, starring Chevy Chase, which was also released in the same year. The story is interesting in places, but insofar as to where the comedy is concerned, it never really transpires and in the way, I'd expected it to be. 

Much like with Chevy Chase's Fletch that was released in the same year, despite the impressive performances, the film suffers from a tedium and consistently unfunny script. For a film billed as a screwball comedy and with the calibre of comedians in John Candy and Richard Pryor in the main leads, one would expect Brewster's Millions to be highly amusing and a rip-roaring romp. Candy is all right and just like with nearly- or be it every role of his, he comes across as the nice guy. As with Pryor, he plays it almost straight in one of his unlikeliest & restrained performances, and whilst I commend him for that, I just feel the writers didn't do him justice on his character, Brewster in terms of funny scenes and lines. & so in a way, I am disappointed with this film: I read some positive comments from people, who enjoyed Brewster's Millions and through that, was hoping the humour, or be it this film would be sort of on the similar lines to the live-action Richie Rich.

The premise in the lead self-titled character could've and should've led to some chaotic and wild and ridiculously funny scenarios and situations for the characters; instead, what we get is little titbit's and morsels that don't really amount to much; most of which are rather forgettable. 

Walter Hill delivered in Red Heat and 48 Hours, but here he and the writer just didn't bring more of the comedy that this film really needed. The plot is very intriguing and a good one, but the story and the execution of it weren't what I'd expected (and I expected it to have full-on laughs, some side-splitting physical comedy moments, but yet nothing) and it was so boring, it was not very interesting. Writers Hershel Weingrod and Timothy Harris, who penned the script for the successful Trading Places, tried to work their magic for Richard Pryor. Yet despite Pryor's valiant efforts, the humour was never well conceived - and that is what really lets down this movie. I smiled in parts, but I never laughed at certain moments of Brewster's Millions where I was expected to laugh. & yet it also didn't help that there weren't more of them throughout. 

Final Verdict:

Not quite the parable for Richard's Pryor's talents, Brewster's Millions has some good performances from the cast - yet despite the comedian's brand of humour, which is downplayed a lot, the film is also low when it comes to laughs and the comedy itself for the most part. The script is patchy, humour is inconsistent and but for a good premise, it's a real shame this premise never translates to full on actual laughs. And for a comedy-type film, to me that is a huge disappointment, particularly given, it has comedic heavyweights in John Candy and Richard Pryor. 

This ought to have been the perfect vehicle to apply the comedy and to have it stretched out throughout the entirety of the movie, - and yet the script doesn't allow ample opportunities for it to happen. & for that itself, what you get in Brewster's Millions is a really uneven comedy effort, that is almost pitifully devoid of humour and laughter. 


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