"BREWSTER'S MILLIONS," a capitalistic classic in its sixth remake, stars Richard Pryor as a minor-league pitcher who suddenly inherits a bundle from a cantankerous uncle played by Hume Cronyn.
The catch: He must spend $30 million in 30 days to gain a greater fortune of $300 million. The condition: He'll forfeit everything if he tells a soul, even best friend John Candy or love interest Lonette McKee.
The original six Brewsters had only a million to kill, but other things being equal the old war horse retains its appeal. It's an amusing vehicle for Pryor and Candy, amiable partners wallowing in monetary ecstasy.
McKee, the lovely songstress of "The Cotton Club," plays a practical paralegal appalled by Pryor's seemingly mad splurge. And Stephen Collins costars as her oafish, preppy fiance, with Rick Moranis in a cameo role as Morty the Mimic, one of thousands of hangers-on.
Director Walter Hill, who shepherded Eddie Murphy in "48 Hrs.," tries his first purely comic -- and only wholly good-natured -- film. Though reasonably well done, it lacks the lightning pace of his earlier films and is not a good bet for his action fans.
Pryor, who inherits the role from Dennis O'Keefe who had it in 1945, finds it's not easy losing money. Like they say, them that has, gets. Bad bets pay off for him. His stock in melting icebergs climbs. In desperation, he launches an outlandish political campaign, but even that proves to be a winner and a threat to his inheritance.
Unscrupulous Anglo-Saxon attorneys further hinder the hero's spending spree in hopes of swindling him out of his bequest. If the villainous WASPs seem to have stepped out of "Trading Places," that's because it was written by the same team: Herschel Weingrod and Timothy Harris seem to be stuck on a theme, albeit a crowd-pleasing one, unless you're rich and then you wouldn't go to this movie anyway.
The 70-year-old concept, like TV's old "Millionaire," seems even more apt in the '80s, highwater mark of conspicuous consumerism and the dawn of the dread yuppie. Mostly, the movie is like one big game show, a nice night out for fans of "The Price is Right" and, of course, the estimable Pryor.
BREWSTER'S MILLIONS (PG) -- At area theaters.