- Movie Rating -

Critical Condition (1987)

| January 16, 1987

There is a good performance trying to bust out of a very bad movie named Critical Condition.  The actor is Richard Pryor who tries very hard to bring some originality, some comic energy, some sense of independence as a comedian in the middle of a movie that seems dead set on burying him alive.

Critical Condition is several movies that don’t fit together.  It wants to be a movie that casts Pryor as a con man posing as a doctor but then, of course, the producers can’t resist turning on all manner of schmaltz before turning it into an action picture with the hospital being besieged by a devastating hurricane.  As the plot gets crazier and less interesting so too does Pryor’s performance.  He’s a performer who can amaze with the power of his words and his body language (see any one of his concert films) but nailed and bolted down to this screenplay he’s a walking stereotype.

Not that it matters but he plays a con artist named Eddie has been trying to be court-certified as insane in order to keep from going to prison and risking sharing space with a mobster that he accidentally fingered to the Feds.  He ends up on the psyc-ward of the hospital but when the hurricane blows in, he decides to blow out.  Unfortunately, on his way out, he is mistaken for a substitute emergency room doctor and is pushed into helping with patients.  Shenanigans ensue as the hospital is overrun by bizarro lunatics.

Pryor knows that this movie is a not working, but he is trying to pull something out of this mess.  We can see it in his eyes in scenes that fall apart before they can even get started.  He knows that state of his own movie career.  He knows that they are making him a laughing stock, but somehow he keeps getting pressed into junk like this.  See his concert films – Live and Smokin’, Live in Concert, Live on the Sunset Strip and Here and Now.  Cover this movie with a sheet and be done with it.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy