Blu-ray Review: Brewster's Millions [Collector's Edition] | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020  

Brewster’s Millions [Collector’s Edition]

Studio: Shout! Factory

Jan 13, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The morning after he’s sacked from his minor league pitching career for igniting a bar brawl, down-and-out Monty Brewster is summoned to NYC by a private investigator to receive the news of his lifetime. It turns out that Brewster is the only living relative of a reclusive, recently-deceased multi-millionaire. Having never met his grand-nephew, the departed eccentric underwrites his last will and testament with an unusual challenge. To receive the $300 million left to his name, Brewster must first spend a whopping $30 million in only thirty days; at the end of that month, he must have acquired no assets, and have nothing more to show for himself than the clothes on his back. He also can’t gamble all of the money away, give it to friends, donate it to charity, or destroy it. For Brewster, spending that much money proves even harder than it sounds. If he loses the challenge, he’ll walk away from the experience broke.

Based on a novel from 1902, Walter Hill turned Brewster’s Millions into a film starring Richard Pryor and John Candy in 1985. Pryor himself buoys the movie as the likeable Brewster, a man not used to having money, and isn’t allowed to tell anyone why he’s blowing through his $30 million inheritance – most of his friends think he’s being foolish, especially the comely accountant the estate’s lawyers arranged for him. You can feel the stress of the predicament building in him, as he does his best to go against his nature and play the part of the wasteful spender. Money certainly does not change poor Brewster – the sole thing he does do for himself during the 30-day challenge is put up an extravagant attempt to carry out his long shot dream of becoming a Major League pitcher. If Pryor’s Brewster were any less down-to-earth, Brewster’s Millions would be in danger of being grating in its wanton decadence; instead, the results are breezy and affable.

Candy’s character is more flat, but the actor is rarely unlikeable. (Watch for Jerry Orbach and Rick Moranis in smaller roles.) The movie loses a little steam when it introduces a subplot involving the estate’s slimy lawyers and the mole they plant in Brewster’s entourage; it’s predictable, but at least doesn’t eat up too much runtime.

Brewster’s Mllions is fun, and easily recommendable to any fan of Pryor’s, or ‘80s studio comedies. (The movie spent a lot of time shooting on location in some of NYC’s ritzier locales, so there’s something here for period detail nerds, too.) Watch it with a friend, and enjoy how much time you'll spend afterward discussing how you would spend Brewster's millions. Extras include a new audio commentary from a pair critics, an interview with the screenwriter, and most interestingly one of the prior, feature-length film adaptations of the movie, from 1945. This is another nice addition to the Shout Select line.



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