Brewster’s Millions (1985, Richard Pryor, John Candy)

Brewster's Millions Richard Pryor, John Candy

In Brewster’s Millions Montgomery Brewster is a minor-league baseball player with no hope of making it to the majors. Then he’s contacted by the lawyers of a long-lost relative who’s left him $300m. But there’s a catch – to earn the fortune, he has to blow one – $30m in just 30 days, without investing it or giving it away or telling anyone else – he has to spend it. So he buys a $1.25m rare stamp and sticks it on an envelope to himself and hires the New York Yankees for the night so he can play in the big-time. But he’s not helped by team-mate Spike Nolan (John Candy), who keeps finding investment opportunities for his friend. Then there’s Angela Drake (Lonette McKee), who Brewster hooks up with; can money buy love?

Based on the seven-times filmed novel by McCutcheon Brewster’s Millions was also a hit stage show, the script for this version comes from the two writers reponsible for Trading Places and has the same honed sense of comedy, with Pryor translating his stand-up sensibilities to screen but being upstaged by the late John Candy in one of his best and most underrated roles.

The humour is occasionally broad but the moments when Pryor must decide whether cash or McKee are the most important add a welcoming dash of romantic drama and Hill, previously better known for his tough action thrillers such as The Warrriors and Southern Comfort , comfortably turns his hand to comedy in this enjoyable film.

USA / 1985

Director: Walter Hill
Writers: Herschel Weingrod, Timothy Harris, based on George Barr McCutcheon’s novel

Cast: Richord Pryor, John Candy, Lonette McKee, Stephen Collins, Jerry Orbach, Pat Hingle