"I've yet to read a positive review of this film. Let this be the first. This is a heartfelt, gut-wrenching film straight from Pryer's heart. If you're looking for comedy, you'll be disappointed. If you're looking for the result of one man's soul search--from hell and back--Pryor delivers here in spades. Pryor is not the best director in the world, but that matters little here. What matters--and what most critics fail to recognize--is that this is one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally impactful autobioghapical film portraits ever set on film. Highly recommended."
The Life and Times of Richard Pryor
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 12/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Basically, my title sums it up. Richard Pryor plays pretty much himself here (why he chose the non de plume "Jo Jo Dancer" was probably to change the names of all characters in the film to protect the innocent). Aside from his army days and getting kicked out of school, as much of the major stuff that could be compressed in 2 hrs is here-growing up in the house of prostitution, the effect this had on his psyche, his troubled relationship with his father (it's really sad and embarrassing to watch a grown Pryor get cursed and slapped around by his Dad in front of his young wife), his early struggles in showbiz, drking and dope problems, etc. etc.
But Pryor's sermon near the end is a relavation and would have been a perfect coda to end his comedy career in films (this film was made at the time he began to get the symptoms of MS). Sadly, later abominations such as "Another You," "Moving," "Critical Condition," and "Harlem Nights" (REALLY tragic considering the talent involved) did not do well for his legacy. But if you stop here, this is a great way to remember the genius that was Richard Pryor (RIP)."
Richard Pryor, up close and personal
Karl Pallmeyer | Austin, TX | 12/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watching "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling" is a bit like being in a bar, sitting next to a total stranger who begins to tell you his life story. It's an uncomfortable situation and you find yourself alternately embarrased and appalled, but totally engrossed and ultimately sympathic to this man's plight. You begin to wonder how a man who has suffered so much can produce so many laughs. The movie is autobiographical, with artistic license taken from time to time, but it really gets at the soul of the man who was Richard Pryor. Many Pryor fans may be shocked -- not at the language, but with the emotional frankness with which Richard reveals himself. And he admits that he has brought much sorrow on himself and the ones who have loved him. Casual fans will probably be put off by the lack of laughs, but those willing to dig a little deeper will come away with an understanding of Pryor and the pain that he was able to forge into incredible comedy -- comedy that exposed more truth about society than many artists, philosophers, writers, or social reformers of the 20th century."
Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling
Arnita D. Brown | USA | 01/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this movie that closely parallels his own life story, Richard Pryor plays Jo Jo Dancer, a popular stand-up comedian who has severely burned himself in a drug incident. As he lies unconscious in a hospital, his spiritual alter ego gets up and begins a journey of his own. He revisits his life, from growing up in a brothel as a child and struggling to beat the long odds to become a top rated comedian. However, his success brings new problems as he develops a tragic pattern of substance abuse that begins to screw up his life. All the while, Jo Jo's spirit watches these events and attempts to convince his past self to turn off from his path of self destruction. The movie has some very hard hitting moments and some touching ones to. A confession, and a true-from-the-heart autobiographical account of a life that was almost ruined through self-inflicted excesses, this is a one of a kind movie. An unbelievably brave movie. Richard Pryor was one of the funniest comedians ever. You must see this. "
Mindmixx | 09/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a true Richard Pryor fan from the time I was a child. I remember going to one of my friends house and his older brother would leave out the album (That N*****s crazy) and we would sneak and listen to it. I was hooked yI currently own most of his Vinyl records to this day.
What more could anyone ask but to have a entertainer tell his/her lifestory and also relive it all (good & bad) by playing the role of themselves. I haven't seen or heard of anyone doing this. other folks have either played them or it was a biography. Jojo Dancer is a true hit based on the life of the comedian. It really shows the depth of a man that grew up in hard times dealing with liquor houses, drug abuse, prostitution etc but he managed to be THE most influencial comedian of the 20th and now 21st century. I HIGHLY recommend this film. For true Richard Pryor fans I promise, you will not be disappointed."