Picks and Pans Review: Brewster's Millions

updated 06/10/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/10/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

If there's one thing that Richard Pryor doesn't need in his comedies, it's a sidekick, particularly a comic one. Besides siphoning off the one-liners, a sidekick deprives Pryor of the posture that made him a movie star: the outraged outsider. One of the many mistakes that Brewster's Millions makes is providing Pryor with a best friend in the corpulent form of John Candy. However, this spiteful comedy sabotages these two formidable comedians from its setup to its fade-out. When Pryor's rich uncle dies, the will stipulates that he may inherit $300 million only if he can spend $30 million in 30 days—and not have a penny to show for it at the end of the month. That premise has served as the basis for six previous movies. But this script by Herschel Weingrod and Timothy Harris, who wrote the equally money-mad Trading Places, ricochets from one lame situation to another as Brewster buys icebergs, rents the New York Yankees so he can pitch against them and runs a joke candidacy for mayor of New York. Director Walter (48 HRS.) Hill never finds a workable pace or style. The only remotely provocative situation is a love triangle involving Pryor, Lonette (The Cotton Club) McKee, who plays a paralegal, and Stephen (TV's Tales of the Gold Monkey) Collins, who plays a lawyer. The interracial romance between the black McKee and the white Collins is not exploited or italicized; it's played strictly matter of fact. That's a welcome approach, but one that is inconsistent with the rest of this moralistic, old-fashioned movie. Brewster's Millions is such an incoherent, slapdash mess that even when the movie does something right, it looks like a mistake. (PG)

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