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Brewster's Millions

Brewster's Millions PG rating

Richard Pryor plays the everyman who inherits a vast estate with a massive catch: he’ll have to spend $30million in 30 days in order to inherit it all.

Comedy 1985 101 mins

Director: Walter Hill

CC

Overview

The fondly remembered 1980s comedy (in fact the seventh adaptation of its source novel) employs an ingenious conceit to inspired effect. A minor-league baseball (Richard Pryor) player discovers he’s the beneficiary of an enormous estate, but there’s a catch: he has to spend $30million in 30 days if he wants to receive the full bequeathal of $300million.

While unmistakably a star vehicle for Pryor’s rich comic talents (with supporting hilarity provided by John Candy), Walter Hill’s film is also interesting today as an almost archetypal 1980s document, steeped in the decade’s iconography and ideologies. In (arguably dubiously) mining laughs from the idea of a black character’s unexpected richness it shares a theme with another successful social-engineering comedy, Trading Places, from a few year’s prior, while the film’s prurient obsession with money and excess is unadulterated 1980s gluttony at its finest.

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