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Brewster's Millions
1985 - PG - 102 Mins.
Director: Walter Hill
Starring: Richard Pryor, John Candy,
Review by: John Ulmer
"Brewster's Millions" is funny the first or even the second time you see it, but it's never outrageously funny or really worth recommending. Richard Pryor's performance isn't extremely memorable; the actor to see this film for is John Candy, who steals the show as soon as we see him.

Pryor plays Brewster, a man who is offered a strange proposition by some elderly men. If he can blow 30 million dollars in a month, he inherits 300 million left to him in a will. If he doesn't, he's left with the remainder of what they give him. And he can NOT tell anyone about their deal. So Brewster agrees, and starts wasting the cash. But soon this turns bad as his good pal John Candy innocently tries to make him money, and people begin to suspect something is wrong. Why is Brewster wasting away his money like it's paper with no value?

"Brewster's Millions" has been done seven times before, apparently, but I could only trace down five: a 1914 version, a 1921 version, a 1926 version, a 1935 version, and a 1945 remake with Dennis O'Keefe. That last version ranked in about a half hour shorter than the Richard Pryor film, and this 1985 version probably would have been better off with that length as well.

Pryor doesn't really stand out as Brewster. I can think of others who would have fit the part better. But I guess it's good they chose him over Eddie Murphy.

John Candy is really the one to keep an eye on during the film, and you can't help but keep an eye on him since he draws your attention from the start. His character is sweet, good-natured, but at the same time a businessman trying to make some dough for him and his pal Pryor. Candy really envelops his character, as always, and steals the show. It's nowhere near his best performance, but it's still great.

This is the first comedy outing for director Walter Hill, who went on to film comedies such as "Red Heat" with Schwarzenegger and Belushi. He uses many of the same formulas as he did in "Red Heat," as well. It's never that funny, but worth seeing once or twice.

Herschel Weingrad & Timothy Harris, who both wrote the film "Trading Places" (*see below), use the same humor (see below) in this film as they did in "Trading Places." Funny people in odd situations doing odd things. They use a simple theme and expand it. Unfortunately, it didn't expand here as much as it could--and should--have.

The beginning of the movie is funny, I'll give it that. When Brewster first gets the money and is trying to blow it--those are the funny parts. It's a bit like films where the hero is learning to adapt to his new abilities ("Spider-Man") or the movies where something is very original and funny but starts to get a tiny bit tiresome later on ("Delirious"). The same goes for "Brewster's Millions": it is funny in the beginning, but it starts to get a bit tiresome after a while. There are only so many gags available when you are talking about a man having to waste money in a certain amount of days.

For some reason, the eighties comedies really sparked an interest in films with people in odd places doing odd things. *"Trading Places," "Delirious," just to name a few. They are fanciful, imaginative, and sometimes not that funny. "Brewster's Millions" is the half-way point between funny and average. It is one of those comedies from the eighties retreading familiar terrain. Its humor is that of many comedies from the eighties with famous comedians. I'll be more specific: "Trading Places" with Dan Akyroyd and Eddie Murphy pops to mind--the film I mentioned above. Its humor is a bit like that. If you like "Trading Places," and all those other campy comedies from the eighties where people are put in odd situations, see "Brewster's Millions." The only other reason to see it would be if you are a fan of the actors. I'm a fan of one of them, and I think you can guess who.
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

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