The Toy (1982)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Buddy Film, Coming-of-Age, Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Release Date - Dec 10, 1982 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

One of the definite low points in the careers of those involved, The Toy is a lurching, mostly unfunny, and tiresomely slapstick affair whose few honest moments are swallowed up by bad decisions. Though comic talents of the stature of Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason will always have their moments, there are way too few of them in this choppy comedy, which feels as though it's had minutes of expository celluloid randomly cut from the finished product. The film can't decide whether or not it takes Pryor's character seriously, giving him effective moments of grace and wisdom, then undoing these with Richard Donner's decision to have him leap around, often at accelerated film speed, like a skittish, bug-eyed court jester. Similarly inconsistent is Pryor's attitude toward his young charge/master; one moment, he's making a breakthrough connection to the brat, then the next, with little provocation, he's ready to storm out on the agreement and the money that could save his house. These are script problems, of course, not Pryor's. He looks pretty embarrassed -- the film is heaping the same kind of abuse on him, as an actor, as the young rich kid heaps on his character. The Toy is nearly worth recommending as one of the last prominent opportunities to see Gleason in action, but really, he doesn't even come close to saving it.