Plot: Arlo (Richard Pryor) is a man who has it together, a family, a nice home, and a great job, but of course, nothing lasts forever. When he is let go and unable to find a new position, he has to take a risk and accept a job offer across the country, in Idaho, a state he knows nothing about. So he breaks the news to his loved ones and prepares for the big move, which will require a lot of time and effort, not to mention selling his current home and lining up a new one in Boise. He has some shaky moments, but finds a moving company that seems reputable and respectful, a friendly young man to transport his car, and his new home is a wonderful place to start over. As the moving date approaches, will Arlo’s luck hold up and if not, what kind of unexpected speed bumps will appear and can Arlo handle the pressure?
Entertainment Value: This 80s comedy is no genre classic, but it has some solid laughs and colorful characters, while also giving Richard Pryor a vehicle to showcase his comedic magic. And without question, Pryor’s presence is the main draw of Moving, as he is able to elevate the material often. The narrative is familiar, as everything goes wrong for Pryor’s Arlo in one humorous disaster after another, but the focus here is on laughs, not story threads. The plot veers into tangents in order to set up the humor, from oddball moments like the previous owners of Arlo’s new home or his neighbor situation at both locations. But Moving doesn’t pretend to be a treatise on social issues or what not, it glides over those and opts for a light, slapstick approach, populated by strange and memorable characters. I do wish the rest of Arlo’s family was given more to do, as they’re kind of left in the background here, with the movie aimed at Arlo’s battles against everyone else. Not all of the jokes work, but they’re fairly successful in most scenes and the cast helps even middling material work at times. So perhaps Moving is a middle of the road comedy, but Pryor makes it better than it should be and for fans of his work or 80s comedies, it is recommended.
This movie has fun assortment of supporting performers, but Moving was designed to be a showcase for Richard Pryor and he delivers. Of course, most are likely accustomed to his more mature approach to humor, but he handles this more toned style well, though this is an R rated picture. That allows Pryor to unleash his more chaotic side at times, but the movie is smart and keeps those bursts for just the right moments, to push an already wild narrative just over the top. I think Pryor is a lot of fun here, but obviously this isn’t the sharpest and most incisive material he has worked with, so it does lack some of his typical insight and edge. Pryor is also able to make the most of the various interactions, giving us humorous encounters with his costars, even the ones in small roles, he’s just able to get the best out of them. Randy Quaid is memorable here as well, in dual roles and in both cases, he provides a boorish, outlandish character. Not on par with his classic Eddie character, but his scenes with Pryor are fun to watch. This ensemble also includes Dana Carvey, Dave Thomas, Robert LaSardo, Beverly Todd, Stacey Dash, and Rodney Dangerfield.