It’s hard to believe a comedy starring Richard Pryor and John Candy is no funnier than this one is, but director Walter Hill has overwhelmed the intricate genius of each with constant background action, crowd confusions and other endless distractions.
All the frenetic motion, unfortunately, never disguises the fact that the writers haven’t done much of distinction with the familiar story [a 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon] that has been produced in many forms, dating back to a 1906 stage version. [Previous film versions were in 1914, 1921, 1935, 1945 and 1961.]
In one incarnation or another, the yarn always involves somebody who stands to inherit a huge fortune, but first must squander a small one over a short time. In order to enjoy the fantasy, the audience must be given good reason to root for the hero.
Though Pryor plays it likeably enough, he never seems particularly deserving of the fun, excitement and brief luxury he falls into in having to spend $30 million in 30 days, much less the $300 million inheritance he stands to receive if he succeeds.