Welcome to this week’s installment of “It Came from the Bargain Bin!” This week’s selection was actually a suggestion made by one of the creators of 3Guys1Movie, Scott Anderson, and when Scotty suggested this particular film my response was more or less, “of course, I don’t know why I’ve gone this long without reviewing it!” There are a number of reasons why it is necessary, or fitting that this week’s movie be reviewed: One reason being that this pick from The Bin was a childhood favorite of mine and I do enjoy reviewing films that may bring you back to a time when you had to return home when the streetlights came on. The second reason being that I am a big Richard Pryor fan and always have been ever since, as a young boy, I sneaked a viewing of Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip which led to more than a couple f bombs being dropped in front of mom, followed by some good old Ivory soap in the cake-hole. The third reason being, when one of the 3Guys suggests a movie to review you do it, dammit!! But seriously, this week’s film is a movie that I have a special place in my heart for due to my love for it as a child so the rating that I give this week’s selection will surely be a biased one. This week’s pick from The Bargain Bin is the 1982 comedy………..The Toy!
Director: Richard Donner
Written By: Carol Sobiesky and Francis Veber
Starring: Richard Pryor, Jackie Gleason, and Scott Schwartz
Reviewed By: Joe Sikes
Jack Brown (Richard Pryor) is an unemployed newspaper reporter that is in danger of losing his home due to he and his wife Angela (Annazette Chase) being six months behind in mortgage payments. Jack now has no choice but to get a “real” job and put the book he’s writing aside. Jack quickly finds out that getting a job is no easy task and rather than getting a job for the local newspaper, Jack is forced to take a job as a mustachioed maid for the man who owns the newspaper, amongst many other businesses in Louisiana, U.S. Bates (Jackie Gleason). Inevitably, Jack’s job as a male maid doesn’t last very long and Jack winds up taking a job as a janitor in a department store owned by none-other than, you guessed it, U.S. Bates.
Enter “Master” Eric Bates (Scott Schwartz) who is out of military school for the summer and visiting his dad U.S. Eric is promised by his dad that he can go shopping at U.S.’ department store and that he can have whatever he wants in the whole store. Eric, being the spoiled brat that he is, takes this statement by his father literally and when he sees Jack goofing off while working in the store, Eric decides that he would like to own Jack. As you can imagine this is not received well by U.S.’ employees but when Mr. Morehouse (Ned Beatty) fails to convince Eric that you cannot own a human being, Eric fails to recognize this logic and refuses to bend on his decision. Jack adamantly declines this request from Eric, at least until U.S.’ employees line his pockets with plenty of green that Jack so desperately needs to keep from losing his house. Looks like Jack is now Eric’s new toy.
The Toy was a childhood favorite of mine and after viewing it again for the first time in at least a few years I am reminded of why I liked The Toy so much. Granted, The Toy isn’t exactly cinema magic, but I could see why Richard Pryor made me laugh so much as a child. The Toy reminds us that Richard Pryor was not only a masterful R rated comedian but he could also pull off the family brand of comedy as well. With the help of Jackie Gleason, Ned Beatty, and Scott Schwartz, Richard Pryor helps make an otherwise mediocre film into a family movie that you actually don’t mind watching. The Toy also reminded me that although it may be a rated PG family film it was 1982 when it was released and back then rated PG meant there may be brief nudity and other adult content so, if you do decide to watch this with your kids be prepared for some PG nudity in the form of an oil painting…..hint, hint. Overall, in my very biased opinion The Toy receives 2 out of 3 mildly adult family movies. See you next week with another pick from The Bargain Bin.