What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this '80s-era comedy has a fair amount of swearing and drinking. The leading character is supposed to be a womanizer, though no sex is shown onscreen. Even though the plot doesn't exactly endorse greed, it does show Brewster being enormously popular when he has tons of money, a nobody when he doesn't. And he seems to be having more fun with the tons of money.
What's the story?
The plot of BREWSTER'S MILLIONS is a comedy standard adapted for the stage and screen multiple times since the silent era. In this 1980's revisit, Montgomery Brewster (Richard Pryor) is a longtime pitcher for a minor-league New Jersey baseball team. About to be cut from the team with his catcher best-pal (John Candy), penniless Brewsterlearns he is the sole heir to an eccentric multi-millionaire, who has left behind $300 million. The catch: Brewster must first wastefully spend $30 million in one month -- averaging to a million a day -- on goods and services and have nothing left in money or property, before he can get the rest. Brewster's crazy, cash-burning schemes include buying his own team to play against a rented New York Yankees, investing in icebergs and running as a joke candidate in the NYC mayoral election. Even so, losing all that money in the time allotted turns out to be more difficult than it seems.
Is it any good?
The hard-living Richard Pryor briefly became a Hollywood megastar, his edgy, angry commentaries showcased in a series of live concert stand-up flicks. But later her took on inoffensive good-guy roles like this, making for a much more family-friendly Pryor. Brewster's Millions is an OK time-passer, the star's underdog appeal remains intact -- but it would've been just the same if supporting John Candy (wasted here in a sidekick bit) had played Brewster instead. Considering the same writers did a sharper (and racier) farce about money, race and class distinction -- Trading Places -- this has to go in the "loss" ledger.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the title character behaves when faced with his challenge. Ask young viewers what they would have done in the same situation. Is there any reason to consider Brewster a role model or not?
The money-spending exercise is said to be an elaborate, even cruel lesson in teaching Brewster how to be careful with his inheritance. What are responsible ways to handle money? What kind of money mistakes have kids and parents made and what can be learned from these mistakes?