In the 70’s and 80’s, there was no one bigger in the world of stand up and comedy than the legendary Richard Pryor (The Toy). That is why for today’s film I chose to watch a film from late in his career in Critical Condition. Kevin Lennihan (Pryor) is kind of a con man, but more of a Bullsh** artist if you ask me. One day as he was going to ask a mobster for a loan, he is framed alongside the mobster in a jewel smuggling scheme which sends him to jail. After faking that he is insane, he is sent to a psych ward at a hospital for them to evaluate him to tell if he’s insane or not. One night during a major storm, he is mistaken in the hospital for a doctor and he has to BS his way out of it. The film also stars Bob Saget (Full House) as Dr. Joffe, Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall) as Rachel, Rubén Blades (Fear The Walking Dead) as Louis, Joe Mantegna (Baby’s Day Out) as Chambers, Bob Dishy (Don Juan Demarco) as Dr. Foster, Sylvia Miles (Midnight Cowboy) as Nurse Lesser, Randall “Tex” Cobb (The Golden Child) as Box, Joe Dallesandro (Flesh For Frankenstein) as Stucky, and the film was directed by Michael Apted (Enough).
This was definitely an interesting film to say the least, but it’s one that I felt was a little all over the place. At first I thought we were going to get a film that was about him trying to prove that he is insane, but then it turns into a film where he’s trying to get by pretending to be a doctor hoping that no one will catch him. I have to be honest in saying that the best part of the film is when he becomes the doctor because you can kind of see the brilliance that was Richard Pryor come out on screen. There is the awful cast rapping scene, the helicopter scene, and even the scene where he’s is negotiating with the drug addicts that was pretty good. Some of my favorite scenes also took place in the psych ward, but it as scenes without Pryor in them. They really gave Mantegna and Cobb the spotlight during those scenes as Mantegna’s character is trying to negotiate his way out of there. I have to admit as well that Bob Saget really held his own in this film as he has some memorable moments and if you look you’ll notice a young Wesley Snipes as an ambulance driver. Of all the Pryor films that I have seen (which is not a lot) this is definitely not my favorite one. I am not saying that it was a bad film, but it’s probably just one that once was enough for me. I am going to give the film an B-/C+ for a final grade. It’s somewhere between those two.