1982 Directed by Richard Donner. Starring Richard Pryor, Jackie Gleason, Scott Schwartz, Ned Beatty.
REVIEWED By Martin Chait, Fri., Dec. 17, 1982
Inept, revolting, heavy-handed, vulgar, maudlin, stupid, insulting, and boring are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing this pathetic 100-minute endurance test. Once again, Richard Pryor finds himself trapped in a movie that does not even pretend to take advantage of his comic genius. This time around he plays a poverty-ridden journalist who agrees to be rented out for a week as a playmate for the spoiled-brat son of billionaire Jackie Gleason. Needless to say, the performance of Scott Schwartz as the brat brings a new meaning to the word "obnoxious." But it probably is not all the kid's fault. Director Richard Donner (Superman, Inside Moves), with his embarrassingly bad direction manages to suck dry the talents of everyone involved – including ace cinematographer Lazlo Kovacs. Pryor, Gleason, and the rest of the cast walk through their roles as if they were being paid not to act. The endless series of tired sight gags look like the unused footage from Jerry Lewis' last movie. (The Nazi and Clan jokes don't.) Donner and writer Carol Sobieski have created one of the worst comedies ever to emerge from a major studio. This is one present that should be left under the Christmas tree – buried and unwrapped.