What happens when black militants take over a large Manhattan advertising agency is the basis for a comic satire on black racial identity and the dollar sign on the American altar of success.
The situations include political caricature, but disappointedly nothing much beyond marginal interest occurs. The comedy is only intermittently funny and the satire is mostly shallow and obvious.
Putney Swope is the only black member of an ad agency. By happenstance he is elected to head the firm after the previous chairman dies.
Director Robert Downey’s sense of the ridiculous is employed in a spotty, punchline kind of comic usage. The sharp individual parts do not build to anything and the film, as a piece, is more often dull than exciting, less revealingly witty then merely clever.