As sole heir to a fortune, when Montgomery Brewster is bequeathed a mammoth $300,000,000 dollars in his hitherto unknown Great Uncle’s will, he thinks that he’s set for life. But there is a wicked caveat to this windfall.
In order to get his hands on it, he is tasked with spending $30,000,000 in thirty days, after which he is not allowed to own anything except for the shirt on his back. And so begins a fast paced month of insanity, as Monty (Pryor) is not allowed to tell anyone about the directive within the will. Employing random strangers as employees, buying crowds lunch, renting suites in the most expensive hotels, it all eats away at his new found fortune.
There is a female accountant employed by the firm administrating the deal, Granville & Baxter, and his best friend, Spike (Candy), who have no idea of Monty’s end game and so try to find ways to make him money as he’s spending it. So Monty finds a way to throw as much money away as possible, in a way that doesn’t break any of the rules that surround the deal - he runs for office, his campaign running with the motto “None of the Above”. He ends up being sued by his opponents and settles out of court. He even sets up a dream baseball game against the New York Yankees with his old team that he’s now bankrolling.
As usual, there’s a bad guy, or guys here, as the firm try to load the bases against him and trick him to ensure that their firm gets the big money should Monty fail, but Monty manages to wriggle out of the trap at the last second to secure the $300,000,000.
At the end, only Spike and his accountant, who finds out about the fraudulent attempt by the partners of the firm and her fiancé to get their hands on the money at the very last second, are by his side.
Monty gets the big money and the film ends abruptly there, which is interesting considering the film is all about what money can do to someone. But you get the feeling that Monty is a better man for the experience.
The film manages to show that money can’t buy you happiness - one of the Great Uncle’s first comments is that he’s going to teach Monty to hate spending it - and that money brings the worst out in some people, most of which are just leeches hanging onto the gravy-train for as long as it lasts, only to abandon him when it ends.
Now over thirty years old, this is one of those rare beasts, along with other films like Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop, an 80s comedy that has dated well. Pryor is likeable as always and Candy is his usual zany self.
BREWSTER’S MILLIONS (1985) / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: WALTER HILL / SCREENPLAY: HERSCHEL WEINGROD, TIMOTHY HARRIS / STARRING: RICHARD PRYOR, JOHN CANDY, LONETTE MCKEE, STEPHEN COLLINS / RELEASE DATE: 28TH MARCH