The Toy

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Richard Donner Films
16 Blocks
Richard Donner still has it. 16 Blocks may be a formulaic good-cops/bad-cops actioner, but it’s rarely stereotypical.

Marc Savlov, March 3, 2006

Time-traveling archeologists can't make the time pass quickly enough.

Marc Savlov, Nov. 28, 2003


The Toy, Richard Donner, Richard Pryor, Jackie Gleason, Scott Schwartz, Ned Beatty

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle