Brewster's Millions (VHS, 2001)

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Good Movie Write Off - "Brewster's Millions"

Nov 28, 2007 (Updated Nov 28, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Pryor is excellent and the movie is frequently funny...

Cons:...Improbable romantic element, slow pacing at times

The Bottom Line: If you like comedies and particularly if you like Richard Pryor, you'll definitely enjoy Brewster's Millions.


According to IMDB there have actually been 5 movies with the title “Brewster’s Millions”, released in 1914, 1921, 1935, 1945, and the version that I’m reviewing here, 1985. This one stars Richard Pryor in the role of Montgomery Brewster, a relief pitcher for a little league baseball team with a gift for getting into trouble. The team’s pitch isn’t quite up to standard - they have a train track going through the middle of outfield, and the game has to be paused whenever a train goes by! Hardly the stuff that Monty’s dreams are made of. He really believes he could have been a contender, and his buddy Spike (John Candy [Cool Runnings]) continually humours this belief with the help of large quantities of beer. Coach Charley Pegler decides that enough is enough when the two end up in prison for being involved in a barroom brawl with members of their most recent opponents and sacks them both.

Poor Monty’s dream is over. However things perk up when he learns that a rich relative has recently died (he didn’t actually know that he had the relative, and the relative was a horrible piece of work, so he’s not too saddened by the death itself!) and bequeathed him $300. However there is a catch to this - in order to get the $300,000,000, he must spend $30,000,000 in just 30 days - and have no assets at all at the end of it, just the clothes he’s wearing. Plus he’s not allowed to tell anyone about the three hundred million.

To make sure he does things properly he is assigned an accountant, Angela (Lonette McKee) who knows nothing of the other money he stands to inherit, and is appalled by the way he throws his money about. (One condition of the will is that he is only allowed to donate 5% to charity.) Unaccountably he falls for her - which is probably the weakest part of the film as this just doesn’t seem very likely at all - and wants to prove himself a good man, not just a wastrel, but somehow still give $30m away. Then there’s his buddy Spike who tries to help him to conserve his money and even gain more, and Marylin’s fiance Warren (Stephen Collins [Jumping Jack Flash]), who has an agenda of his own. Brewster must find more an more imaginative ways of getting rid of his millions.

That plot alone would have been a little thin to flesh out a 97 minute film, but one of the methods he uses to spend his money brings in a rather interesting political subplot. At any rate the film is inventive enough to keep us interested in what’s going on, and though most of the characters seem to be rather two-dimensional, they are still interesting enough for us to care what’s happening. Richard Pryor gives a full throttle performance as Monty Brewster, and the fact that he’s rather over the top at times with his visual comedy actually helps the film as his female counterpart Angela is a somewhat reserved character. Lonette McKee is fine in that role but somehow I just never really connected with Marylin as a person in the film. John Candy doesn’t really get a chance to do all that much, which is a bit of a shame, but his character serves as emotional ballast for Monty. Stephen Collins is excellent as Warren and the pre-Law & Order Jerry Orbach is fun to watch as the embattled coach. Tovah Feldshuh as Marylin, Warren’s ex-wife who is called in to do the interior design on Brewster’s new pad, is very funny, and Joe Grifasi (Big Business, 13 Going On 30) gives good value as always in a relatively small role.

Though it struggles a little in places due to rather slow pacing, Brewster’s Millions is an enjoyable, funny movie that offers a very enjoyable hour and a half of film entertainment. Perhaps not a “must have” movie, but one you’ll be happy to have in your collection nonetheless.


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This review was an entry to my own Good Movies Write Off.


See also: My Top Ten Comedies


Recommend this product? Yes

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