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Lee's Movie Reviews (186)

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Toy, The (1982) 
An oldie but a goody
3/4 stars

I love to list here on Film Crave and while making up the list for my favorite films of 1982, I came across this little gem that I hadn't thought of in years. Picked it up and had a re-watch, thinking also that my kids have had yet to see it as well. The verdict is in...they enjoyed it as much as I did when I was their age. Although enjoying a few of Richard Pryor's film projects through the 80's I will have to admit to this being one of my faves of his. I had almost forgot that the late great Jackie Gleason also co-stars and anything he had done I made a point of watching at one time.

Storyline is as follows...A billionaire single father who only gets to see his only begotten son one week of the year, U.S. Bates (Portrayed brilliantly and comedic by Jackie Gleason) who owns a huge and economically thriving department store, always allows his spoilt son, Master Eric Bates (Scott Schwartz, for those who don't remember anything Scott has done before he was Flick in A Christmas Story) to go and pick out anything he wants from his father's store.
Followed by an entourage of store managers and stockholders, Eric walks along each and every department as he shops for his selection. Enter newly hired store janitor Jack Brown (Richard Pryor) whose enthusiasm whilst trying out a wonder wheel (An inflatable device where one person can stand in the middle of the wheel and basically roll with it) intrigues young Eric. He points to Jack and says "I have decided what I want for my present" All the store's higher ups figure he wants the Wonder Wheel itself however Eric clearly tells him that it's Jack himself that he requires as his new 'toy'. Needless to say the store's managers and such explain to him that he cannot buy a human being however Eric will hear nothing of this and tells them that his father owns this store and he said he could have 'anything' within it's walls for a present, so therefore he wants Jack.

Eric is very spoilt and it's not long before Jack is crated up and sent to the Bates mansion as to hen opened U.S. Bates himself exclaims 'Oh F..." (Something he does a few times through this movie and it cracked me up every time). Jack still says he will not be bought that last seconds as Bates offers him 10,000 bucks if he stays. the rest of the film has Jack and Eric developing a friendship as Jack tries to unspoil Eric and also teach his boss that spending time and loving him is key to a father son relationship. One scene for example has Jack sitting on Bate's knee imitating Eric which in itself priceless.

The movie like I said is a comedic gem and I definatly suggest this film for family movie night viewing.


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