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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
If I Had $300 Million.....
by Geoffrey D. Roberts

Montgomery Brewster, played by the late Richard Pryor, is a minor league pitcher for the Hackensack Bulls in Brewster's Millions. Despite having a great pitching arm and considerable talent he has never been called upon by a major league team.

Brewster's dream is to play against the New York Yankees. But, for now, he must settle for less than $11,000 a year, no credit line and working for manager Charlie Pegler (Jerry Orbach) who longs to drop Brewster and catcher Spike Nolan (John Candy) for repeatedly finding themselves in trouble that reflects negatively on the team when they go out in public.

After trying to pick up women in a bar, Brewster and Nolan are in jail facing numerous charges including assault and battery. Because Pegler has been looking for a way to get rid of Brewster and Nolan, he refuses to pay their bail and kicks them off the team. Sadly, Brewster's dream seems to be put on ice permanently.

Once news breaks that he's no longer with the Bulls, Brewster thinks someone will sign him. He also believes both he and Nolan will be released from jail. At their hearing, unfortunately, the two men only get themselves in deeper problems with a judge who wants to throw the book at them.

J.B. Donaldo (Joe Grifasi) suddenly comes to their aid. He has been dispatched by Brewster's benefactors, who wish to remain anonymous. All Donaldo requires is that Nolan and Brewster agree to plead guilty and pay their fines. He will then post their bail. 

Brewster is ecstatic once Donaldo tells them there's business to be tended to in New York. He surmises that he's about to meet and get a major league contract with the New York Mets. Why else would anyone need to do business with him?

It turns out Brewster has a lost uncle (who happens to be white) named Rupert Horn (Hume Cronyn), an eccentric billionaire. His family hated him and he felt the same way about them, so he stopped communicating with any of his relatives. Naturally, they thought he was dead.

Horn himself believed all of his heirs were dead until he learned of Brewster, the last person in the world he wants his fortune to go to, and he doesn't make Brewster's task of collecting the 300 million dollar inheritance an easy one. He decides to play a sick, twisted, and warped game from beyond the grave. He wants Brewster to hate looking at money, having money, or spending it by the time he is through.

Brewster has a choice -- either he takes a wimp-out clause and keeps one million, or he goes for 300 million. If he chooses to go for the full inheritance, he must take 30 million dollars and spend it over 30 days, ending up with nothing but the shirt on his back. However, no assets considered valuable can be destroyed, and he cannot divulge to anyone the reason why he's squandering 30 million dollars. 

Brewster immediately places a collect call ("collect" because he only has 100-dollar bills!) to Pegler, attempting to return to the team, buy it, fix up the stadium and play an exhibition game with the Yankees. But Pegler thinks Brewster is delusional. And so does his friend Nolan as well as accountant Angela Drake (Lonette McKee). Brewster's friends want him to use money wisely, invest, and let it collect interest.

What will happen to Brewster now that people working for him are making money faster than he can spend it? Will Horn's lawyers scheme against him? Can Brewster keep his secret and win the entire inheritance?

Despite one-dimensional characters, lack of a sub-plot, and heavy-handed directing by Walter Hill, Pryor and Candy evoke enough laughter to warrant a look at Brewster's Millions. Audiences will appreciate why Candy and Pryor are sorely missed.

Brewster's Millions is bundled with Universal's Richard Pryor 4-Movie DVD Collection that also includes Car Wash, Bustin' Loose and Which Side Is Up?

(Released by Universal Pictures and rated "PG" by MPAA.)

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