1987 / Director. Michael Apted.
Who doesn't love Richard Pryor? The man was a genius and his legacy is legendary. CRITICAL CONDITION is one of the later comedies he made and while it was in my psyche, I ever got around to watching it. Recently I found it in a bargain bin for a few bucks and snapped it up. Today I watched it... and I think I may have overpaid for it. What a piece of shit. Like several of his other later films, Pryor himself wasn't even a fan. He made it for the money and invested very little enthusiasm. I thought perhaps with Michael Apted directing that it might have been a cut above the rest but I was wrong. It is a shamozzle. Pryor plays a down-on-his-luck businessman who gets framed in a diamond heist. Petrified of prison he pleads insanity and fanes mental illness. He finds himself under assessment in a psychiatric ward of a hospital and when the building is locked down in a power-outage he is mistaken for a surgeon and thrown into a chaotic emergency ward. So bad. For some reason Hollywood found mental illness hilarious in the 80s and there was an onslaught of movies taking aim as "loonies". In the wake of One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest the studios clearly misunderstood that film's humour and pumped out hogwash like The Dream Team, The Couch Trip and CRITICAL CONDITION. Richard Pryor looks bored shitless and peddles out a then-automated brand of schtick. Dick jokes, black jokes and sex jokes... that's all it really amounts to. Oh and then a stupid stupid thriller subplot is added to the mix.... so - anyone looking to buy a copy of Critical Condition?