Ah, yes. I can think of no better homage to one of the greatest comedians of my lifetime… no, of all time, than for Marlon fucking Wayans to portray him in his biopic.
There are so many things working against the forthcoming Richard Pryor: Is it Something I Said? First, it’s being developed by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions. Happy Madison once used to swing for the fences with fare like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison. These days? Not so much. They’re responsible for two Deuce Bigelow movies, The Animal, I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, and countless other horrendously bad, cripplingly unfunny pictures. They’ve made pure, unfettered shit, consistently, for the last 10 years. Seriously, the last not-painfully-wretched movie to come out of their stable was probably 2007’s Reign Over Me. Our own Dan Carlson gave it this backhanded praise: “There’s an honest film somewhere inside Reign Over Me; I just wish I could’ve seen it.” If that’s the best they’ve come up with in the last 10 years, I have little hope for the future.
But the Wayans casting is worse. There was a time when the Wayans brothers, much like Sandler and company, were comedic juggernauts. Nowadays, they subject us to the wretched line of “___ Movie” productions. Oh, and White Chicks. And White Chicks 2. Yes, the man who is next going to be in Scary Movie 5 (FIVE? Fucking FIVE? Movie audiences of the world, you should be fucking ashamed of your collective selves), is going to portray Richard Pryor. The role was originally supposed to go to Eddie Murphy, which would have been a minor improvement. Murphy hasn’t done much respectable work other than Dreamgirls recently, but at least we know he can act. Instead, it’ll go to the asshole who played the lead in Little Man.
The film is being produced by Chris Rock and Jennifer Lee Pryor (Richard’s widow), but that does little for my expectations. Pryor was, despite his numerous problems with addiction and lord knows what else, a revolutionary and brilliant comic with a fascinating and complex life story.
And we’re leaving his legacy in the hands of Marlon fucking Wayans. Jesus humping Buddha on a cracker-eating Christ.
Watch this clip. It will crack you the fuck up (although the ending joke is a little disturbing these days). Then, picture Wayans doing this bit. And fucking weep.