The last of three concert films Richard Pryor released to theaters in the early 1980s, HERE AND NOW finds the comic and actor at his least edgy, which may have something to do with the fact, as he tells the audience near the beginning, that he has been off drugs and alcohol for seven
months. And while that edge brought a certain quality to Pryor's previous performance films, its loss is compensated for by sheer professionalism.
The film opens, unnecessarily and rather dauntingly, with footage of people waiting to get into the show (at the Saenger Performing Arts Center in New Orleans), talking about how much they love Pryor and are prepared to laugh long and hard. That's not necessarily the best audience for someone like
Pryor, who engages the mind and the heart as well as the funnybone; this audience is prepared to howl and does so, whether it's appropriate or not.
As always, Pryor's profane, bawdy routines are mixed with a few extended monologues. In the best, maybe the best piece of acting he ever did on film, Pryor brings to life Motif, a junkie from his childhood neighborhood. As Motif scores and shoots up, Pryor rambles through his perspective on the
world, occasionally blurring the line between Pryor and his character. He may be no longer living on the edge, but he certainly remembers it, as in another, lighter bit where he enacts a drunk trying to speak, growing more and more frustrated with his mouth's refusal to do what he wants it to. And
his longtime character Mudbone, an elderly black man given to reminiscing, appears for a funny segment on his experiences in California during the Depression.
Some of the other material is overly familiar: the battle between the sexes, Pryor's experiences in Africa. And a brief bit of political humor falls flat. Still, RICHARD PRYOR HERE AND NOW provides more than sufficient evidence of Pryor's unique talents. (Extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1983
- Rating: R
- Review: The last of three concert films Richard Pryor released to theaters in the early 1980s, HERE AND NOW finds the comic and actor at his least edgy, which may have something to do with the fact, as he tells the audience near the beginning, that he has been off… (more)