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Brewster's Millions

Brewster's Millions

1985

In a hilarious game of financial cat-and-mouse, Montgomery Brewster must go from zero to hero by spending $30 million in 30 days without giving away too much to charity or retaining any new wealth. With secrecy key to his inheritance, Brewster navigates the challenges of excess with the help of straight-laced paralegal Angela Drake, leading to a chaotic comedy of errors.

Runtime: 102 min

Box Office: $46M

Language:

Directors:

Genres:

Ratings:

Metacritic

37

Metascore

6.7

User Score

Metacritic
review

35%

TOMATOMETER

review

56%

User Score

Metacritic

6.5 /10

IMDb Rating

Metacritic

66.0

%

User Score

Check out what happened in Brewster's Millions!

Montgomery "Monty" Brewster (Richard Pryor), a less-than-stellar pitcher for the Hackensack Bulls, is still riding high after a recent win. His celebration takes an unexpected turn when he and his best friend, Spike Nolan (John Candy), the team's catcher, find themselves in a precarious situation at a local watering hole. The evening quickly devolves into chaos as Monty and Spike try to make their exit with two ladies of interest, only to be confronted by two burly men claiming to be their husbands. A brutal bar brawl ensues, resulting in the duo's arrest and subsequent imprisonment.

Upon their release from custody, Monty faces a daunting reality when his coach, Charley (Jerry Orbach), delivers the news that team management has decided to cut ties with both players. In court, Monty attempts to explain the circumstances surrounding the fight, but the judge remains unmoved by his plight. It is at this point that a photographer, who had been tracking Monty's every move (whom Monty mistakenly believed was a professional baseball scout), unexpectedly intervenes on their behalf.

This mysterious figure, J.B. Donaldo (Joe Grifasi), identifies himself as the representative of an unnamed party willing to post bail for both Monty and Spike if they agree to plead guilty. With their freedom secured, Donaldo whisks them away to New York City, where Monty is introduced to the Manhattan law office of Granville & Baxter.

It is here that Monty learns of his recently deceased great-uncle, Rupert Horn (Hume Cronyn), a man he has never had the pleasure of meeting. However, it transpires that Rupert has left behind an extraordinary inheritance – the entirety of his vast fortune – which has been bequeathed to Monty, his only living blood relative, courtesy of their shared grandmother.

The conditions attached to this windfall are nothing short of astonishing. In a filmed message from beyond the grave, Rupert Horn outlines his final wishes, recounting a childhood tale in which he was forced by his father to consume an entire box of cigars as punishment for indulging in just one. It becomes clear that Rupert has left Monty a $30 million inheritance with the express purpose of teaching him the value of not squandering wealth. Monty is given 30 days to spend this sum wisely, and if successful, he will be awarded the full inheritance of $300 million. However, should he opt for an easier route, he can take $1 million upfront as part of a "Wimp" clause, relinquishing control of the estate to the law firm, which would then distribute the remaining funds among various charities (after deducting a substantial fee).

As Monty Brewster (David Duchovny) emerges from the law firm, he's privy to a tantalizing secret: the terms of Rupert's will remain shrouded in mystery to all but the select few who witnessed its reading - George Granville (David White), Norris Baxter (Jerome Dempsey), and Edward Roundfield (Pat Hingle). The rest are left to believe Monty has inherited a staggering $30 million, with no inkling of the true nature of his windfall. Rupert's explicit stipulation is clear: Monty must not directly assist Monty in his quest for fortune.

The challenge before him is twofold: first, he must spend the inheritance on tangible goods and services; any assets that appreciate in value, such as investments or property generating income, are considered part of his original sum. Moreover, he's restricted from giving away more than 10% of his total - a mere $1.5 million split between gambling losses and charitable donations.

Furthermore, Monty is prohibited from deliberately damaging or destroying anything he purchases with the inheritance. The stakes are raised even higher: within 30 days, he must be penniless, owning only the clothes on his back. Any breach of these five rules will result in the forfeiture of the challenge. If Monty fails to exhaust the $30 million within the designated timeframe, any remaining funds will revert to the law firm, leaving him with nothing.

Despite the alluring prospect of a one-time payment of $1 million, Monty elects to take on the monumental task of spending the entire sum. He makes his way to a nearby bank, where the cash awaits, and proceeds to appoint Spike as vice president of an investment corporation he's establishing. Additionally, he hires a personal guard from the bank's security detail for the duration of the challenge and rents the bank vault, opting out of an interest-earning account.

As Monty navigates the concrete jungle of Manhattan, he forges an unlikely alliance with Yakov Smirnov, a rugged Russian taxi driver who becomes his personal chauffeur. With a fleet of luxurious limousines at their disposal, Monty's entourage whisks him away to an extravagant dinner in the heart of the city, where he finds himself captivated by Angela Drake (Lonette McKee), a stunning law student and accountant assigned to manage his finances. Despite her initial hesitation, Monty's charms eventually win over Angela, who is torn between her loyalty to her fiancé Warren - a junior partner at the law firm - and her growing fascination with the charismatic newcomer.

As Monty settles into his lavish penthouse suite at the iconic Plaza Hotel, he demonstrates a flair for the dramatic by hiring a pair of high-end tailors to craft bespoke suits that rival the opulence of his surroundings. Meanwhile, in his newly rented office space within the hotel, Monty encounters Angela's boyfriend Warren (Stephen Collins) and his ex-wife Marilyn, whom he has hired to revamp the office aesthetic - a decision that proves both costly and ill-advised.

Over the next few weeks, Monty's office becomes a hub of activity as an assortment of individuals seeking to do business with him or take advantage of his fortune converge on the scene. One enterprising individual pitches Monty an investment opportunity involving a massive iceberg equipped with powerful engines, which will be navigated to the Middle East to provide fresh water for local farmers. Additionally, Monty exercises his right to gamble 5% of his $30 million inheritance, hiring a bookie to place bets on long-shot racehorses and even wagering on the field hockey team from Loyola University - Angela's alma mater.

As Monty looks to leave his mark on his old stomping grounds in Hackensack, he contacts his former Bulls coach with plans to renovate their venerable playing field and organize a three-inning exhibition game featuring the Bulls against the mighty New York Yankees.

As the weeks go by, Monty's profligate spending habits continue unabated, with Spike's eccentric suggestion sparking a peculiar fascination with rare collectibles. One fateful evening, Monty's fixation culminates in the purchase of the fabled Inverted Jenny stamp from a high-end dealer for a staggering $1,250,000. Granville and Baxter are stunned when they read about Monty's lavish expenditure in the newspaper, convinced that he has flagrantly disregarded the terms of the will. Meanwhile, Baxter becomes increasingly perplexed as he ponders over a seemingly innocuous postcard featuring the Hackensack Bulls, only to realize that it contains a cryptic message from Monty - cleverly mailed using the Inverted Jenny stamp, thus rendering it a valuable asset belonging to the others. The duo's ire is ignited, and they summon Warren for an impromptu meeting to review the will's conditions. They then instruct him to subtly manipulate the firm's accounting records by introducing a minor error totaling $20,000, which will only be discovered at the eleventh hour. In return, they promise Warren that he will be granted full partner status and Monty's true inheritance of $300 million will be re-channeled into the firm.

As concern mounts among Monty's friends and associates about his out-of-control spending spree, they attempt to reason with him, urging him to curb his extravagant habits. In a desperate bid to intervene, Spike's financial guru, Eugene (David Wohl), is dispatched to counsel Monty. Initially resistant, Monty eventually agrees to hire Eugene on the condition that he will only be compensated through a modest percentage of any profits earned. This decision sparks a hint of resentment towards Angela, who had covertly orchestrated this meeting.

Monty's fortunes take a dramatic turn when he discovers that his investment in the iceberg venture has proven highly lucrative. In a flash of generosity, he decides to donate the windfall - $1,500,000, representing 5% of the original inheritance - to charity, having just been banned from further gambling activities by the bookie who facilitated his winning bets.

The high-stakes drama unfolds when Spike and Eugene burst into Monty's office, bearing exhilarating news that leaves him stunned. Spike has leveraged a substantial portion of Monty's fortune in a venture, yielding a staggering windfall of $10 million for the company. However, instead of basking in the glory of this financial coup, Monty becomes disheartened, lamenting his return to square one. He orders everyone out of his office, seeking solace in solitude.

As he paces through the empty space, Monty's gaze drifts towards the television, where a news commentary about New York's impending mayoral election captures his attention. The reporter remarks that his station has decided not to endorse either of the shady candidates, both allegedly backed by organized crime elements. This sparks an idea in Monty's mind, and he seizes the opportunity to throw his hat into the ring, declaring a campaign dubbed "None of the Above." His aim is to purchase votes in New York, leveraging his substantial resources to outmaneuver the competition.

Monty's campaign becomes a behemoth of advertising, staffing, and televised ads, draining nearly $30 million in a remarkably short period. Unfazed by the cost, Monty remains brazen in his attacks on his opponents, publicly belittling them through media spots and public appearances. When Heller and Salvino, his two rivals, realize that Monty's campaign poses a significant threat to their own chances, they jointly decide to sue him for libel. Monty ultimately settles out of court for $4 million.

Meanwhile, Angela has grown increasingly distant from Monty, criticizing his reckless spending habits, which have left them with a mere $30 million. Earlier, Monty had attempted to gift her a new Aston-Martin convertible, a breach of the will's terms that he cannot disclose to Angela. As they converse on the street, Warren and Marilyn observe their interaction, mistakenly assuming that Monty and Angela are having an affair.

The day of the highly anticipated Bulls vs. Yankees game arrives. Initially, the Bulls dominate the Yankees, but as the game wears on, the Yanks mount a comeback, ultimately defeating the Bulls in the early stages of the third inning, courtesy of a grand slam home run off Monty's pitching. Defeated and dejected, Monty exits the stadium.

In the locker room, Roundfield approaches Monty, revealing that he is actually leading the election for mayor at the polls. However, if he wins, his $60,000 annual salary could be considered an asset in accordance with the will. This news prompts Monty to announce his withdrawal from the election and invites everyone to a farewell party, which he will fund with his remaining $38,000.

As the revelry of the party winds down, Monty (character) sets his sights on achieving a state of utter intoxication. His friends Spike and Melvin, aware that he's perilously close to financial ruin, pool their resources to present him with a generous offering. However, Monty steadfastly declines their charity, cognizant that accepting it would compromise the stipulations set forth in the will. Undeterred, Spike proposes an alternative: purchasing a sleek sports car and abandoning New York for a fresh start. Yet again, Monty politely rebuffs his friend's suggestion.

The morning after (on the 30th day), Monty receives a courteous yet firm eviction notice from the landlord of his offices and penthouse apartment. The tailors reclaim all the garments he had rented, leaving him to rummage through his closet for a reminder of his past – in this case, an old Chicago Cubs jersey. His visit with Marilyn proves equally uneventful, as she orders the removal of her meticulously crafted interior design work upon learning that Monty approves of it. Dressed in his humble attire once more, Monty departs the Plaza and ventures solo into Manhattan's bustling streets.

Later that evening, local news anchor Chuck Fleming (Peter Jason) takes to the airwaves, speculating about Monty's sudden disappearance from public view after announcing his financial ruin. As it turns out, primary election results have revealed a shocking development: Monty's campaign has inadvertently tanked those of Heller and Salvino, resulting in a resounding "none of the above" from voters. The mayoral race will now head to a run-off election, with neither of Monty's defeated opponents seeking office once more.

As the clock strikes 11:50 pm, Monty's enigmatic presence reappears at Granville & Baxter, his financial fortunes hanging precariously in the balance. Prior to entering the meeting with Warren (Warren) and Roundfeld, he is intercepted by the opportunistic lawyer who hands over the $20,000 he had withheld, a move that sparks an immediate reaction of dismay on Monty's part. With the midnight deadline looming large, Monty agrees to sign whatever documentation lies ahead, seemingly resigned to his fate.

However, this momentary lapse into despair is short-lived, as Angela suddenly materializes on the scene, her arrival marked by a sense of urgency and purpose. Warren, ever the shrewd strategist, seizes the opportunity to reveal the conditions of Monty's will, producing a receipt for the furniture company that had slipped under Angela's radar. Her outrage at being kept in the dark is palpable as she rushes to prevent Monty from surrendering his hard-earned inheritance to the firm, her accusations of Warren's deceit drawing an immediate termination from her bosses.

As tensions escalate, Warren reveals his suspicions about the nature of Monty's relationship with Angela, prompting a violent outburst on her part. Monty intervenes, punching Warren in a display of defiance that prompts the lawyer to threaten legal action. With the offer of an out-of-court settlement for the money he had been given, Warren refuses to back down, leaving Monty little choice but to take drastic measures.

In a stunning turn of events, Monty decides to hire Angela on retainer for $20,000, tasking her with drafting a receipt by the stroke of midnight. With Roundfeld's declaration that Monty's inheritance is now complete, the lawyer also vows to investigate any wrongdoing on the part of Granville & Baxter. As Monty and Angela exit the office together, they agree to discuss their legal options and the implications of Monty's newfound fortune.