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Feature


Montgomery Brewster (Richard Pryor) is a baseball player in a dead end team with unrealistic aspirations of reaching the big time. When an unknown relative dies, Monty is left a fortune but a fortune with a few strings attached. Brewster has to spend $30,000,000 in 30 days and at the end of it have none of it left and no assets to show for it. He can’t give it all away and anyone he spends it on has to have a worth. If he achieves this he gains a $300,000,000 fortune, if he fails he’s left with nothing. Brewster has some spending to do but soon learns it’s not quite as easy as he first thought.

 Brewster's Millions
They honestly don’t make comedies like Brewster’s Millions anymore. Arguably, it’s not even really even a full on comedy as it’s more the situation that’s amusing as opposed to being built on flat out laughs throughout. Unlike modern comedies it’s not all about killer lines or shock value set pieces and instead opts for a sense of chaos with a bit of social commentary to add a bit of dramatic value to the tale of Brewster.

Within that chaos Pryor shines as our lead. He’s charming, vulnerable and generally goodhearted. This is pure Pryor gold in terms of performance, unleashed in a fury of spending and essentially conning his way to a fortune Pryor gets to be playful, wild and fun but with a sense of purpose to his actions he remains grounded and easy to get behind.

Brewster’s impossible situation, where he can’t share the details with anyone lends itself to a plenty of great supporting roles too, all baffled with Brewster’s spending but totally along for the ride. John Candy does his usual best buddy thing from the era, Rick Moranis has an odd but delightful small role as the performer who’s act is mimicking people and generally any one of the characters who are sucked into Brewster’s world bring something different to the proceeding whether good-natured and supporting Brewster or corrupt and plotting to make Brewster fail his task.

 Brewster's Millions

Video


The 80s comedy classic despite its HD overhaul still looks exactly like an 80s comedy, albeit a slightly brighter and fresher looking on at times. There's minor print damage, the image is relatively flat and while colours are certainly boosted they rarely lift the image into the realms of anything too noticeably special.

So that's the inherent largely unavoidable hold back of the video presentation but honestly it's Brewster's Millions and honestly the the HD presentation here is still borderline great, especially given the fact this is a film largely built in VHS memories or late night TV airings.

Edges, given the right lighting conditions look sharp and HD upgraded, at their worse they make the image look flat and reminded me of my VHS history with the film again. Transitions and wipes can look particularly bad as well. Detail is generally good, and primary colours thrive. Close up on objects such as champagne glasses and set dressing also look pretty great from time to time as well but it's a bit of a reach to say this presentation impresses on any real level behind a passing realisation the transfer is better than my previous standard definition experiences with the film.

 Brewster's Millions

Audio


The audio track is a basic stereo affair. Central dialogue, clean enough and dependent on the size of the set, provides either a crisp sound or a slightly echo filled one.

The 80s synth score rises slightly above the dialogue and widens the track and there's the odd crowded location that fills out with crowd cheers or the footfall of New Yorkers but really, there is not a great deal going on here beyond the basics

 Brewster's Millions

Extras


There's cast and crew details, which is all text on still images, production notes lifted from the old days of DVD and the film's trailer.And that's your lot.

 Brewster's Millions

Overall


Brewster’s Millions is very much of its time, thanks to its synth score and overuse of montage to plough through elements of its story as it gets more complicated, however with that said it still manages to reflect our current societal attitudes toward money and power, especially when the “None of the Above” race for Mayor of New York elements really take off. Also the wide eyed optimism of Brewster will never date as he struggles to spend his money in time while balancing his friends, the girl he’s trying to impress and fulfilling his dreams with his baseball team. Brewster’s Millions remains a fantastic watch with a nice balance of chuckles, drama and keeping you locked in to seeing how all this pays off.

Disc wise, the video and audio presentation is pretty plain for the most part. There are certainly elements that raise the film’s HD credentials but generally speaking it’s just a cleaner, slightly more colourful overhaul that never really does anything to show off, it is however still a clear upgrade over previous format releases. As for the extras, there are static text based supplements pinched from the original DVD release of the film, so nothing extra to see here really.


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