Movie Review: Stir Crazy (1980)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1980 comedy starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.

Synopsis: New Yorkers Skip Donahue and Harry Monroe are wrongfully accused and convicted of a bank robbery in Arizona. When the warden discovers Skip has a natural talent for riding bulls, the two friends and some of their fellow inmates come up with a plan that will allow them to escape during the upcoming prison rodeo.


My wife and I originally planned on watching a horror movie last night. However, we had several options and couldn't make up our mind so, since we are both fans of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, we ended up picking out this movie instead. Unfortunately, while there were plenty of funny moments in the film, it just wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be.

I think my biggest problem with this film was the fact it was very predictable. When they were framed for robbery, it wasn't too difficult to figure out who really robbed the bank. And, some of the scenes inside the prison, such as when they are forced to share a cell with murderer Grossberger (van Lidth), also had expected outcomes.

Also not helping this movie was the rodeo/escape scene. It seemed to drag on quite a bit, partly because, at no point during that part of the film, was there any real suspense. That part of the movie was practically begging for a guard to walk in on them or some sort of other obstacle and the fact there wasn't one just made it kind of dull. That's honestly not something I would expect to say about a movie that stars both Wilder and Pryor.

My wife and I also weren't huge fans of the ending. Not only was it predictable (like the movie in general), it left a lot of loose ends, especially when it came to the escape attempt. Wrongfully convicted or not, they were helping real criminals escape, something I'm pretty sure is a crime in itself. Yet, the film doesn't even bother to mention anything about that at the end.

Stir Crazy

One of the looniest pictures to come along in some time! STIR CRAZY teams two of the most brilliant and zany comic performers today: Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. Skip (Wilder)...

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Final Opinion

My wife and I had some high expectations for this movie when we began watching it last night and, unfortunately, it failed to meet those expectations. As I said before, there are definitely some funny moments in this film. But, it just doesn't have the same magic as some of the other movies that pair these comedians. It wasn't an awful movie. It just wasn't anything special.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 08/01/2015, StevenHelmer
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