Synopsis by Donald Guarisco
This Americanized remake of Lina Wertmuller's The Seduction of Mimi offered audiences the novelty of seeing Richard Pryor performing three different roles in the same film. Which Way Is Up? tells the tale of Leroy Jones (Pryor), a poor orange picker who gets fired from his job when he accidentally joins a worker's union during a demonstration. He is forced to travel to Los Angeles and abandon his family, which includes his wife, Annie Mae (Margaret Avery), and his perpetually randy father, Rufus (also Pryor). While there, he falls in love with labor organizer Vanetta (Lonette McKee), but is soon rehired by his former employers when they realize he is easily manipulated. Back home, Leroy discovers his new managerial role alienates him from his former friends as he tries to divide his time between Annie Mae and Vanetta. When he discovers Annie Mae has been impregnated by the Reverend Lennox Thomas (Pryor's 3rd role) during his absence, Leroy sets his sights on seducing Lennox's wife. The resulting film had ambition to spare, but was generally panned as an inferior remake by the critics and failed to find a mass audience. However, Which Way Is Up? gained a second lease on life via cable and home video and has become a cult favorite with Pryor's fans.
class-clash, extramarital-affair, labor-leader, love-quadrangle, manager, union [labor union], minister