Let’s Do It Again

Dir: Sidney Poitier, 1975. Starring: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Jimmy Walker. Comedy/Black Cinema.
Let’s Do It Again

What do you get when you mix funk, hypnosis, boxing, hustlin’ and church? You get Let’s Do It Again, starring the Uptown Saturday Night duo Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier and the ever-hilarious Jimmy Walker, who most know from the TV show Good Times. Apparently, this film is seen as a sort of trilogy with Uptown Saturday Night and A Piece of the Action, but I’ve only seen this one and have yet to blur in other films into its overall plot since it stands up great on its own.

Clyde Williams (Sidney Poitier) and Billy Foster (Bill Cosby) are two friends who desperately want to help their congregation, awesomely named The Brothers and Sisters of Shaka, who are in need of financial aid. In order to keep it from breaking apart, Billy refreshes Clyde’s memory of a time when they harmlessly used Clyde’s solider-derived knowledge of hypnosis to have a little fun and to make him see the advantages of using such a tool to place bets on boxing. The two come to an agreement and take what little money the congregation has in its savings and venture to New Orleans in order to bet on boxers, with the pressing deadline of the congregation's need in mind. There they scout out the most pitiful opponent, Bootney Farnsworth (Jimmy Walker) and hypnotize him into thinking that he is practically invincible. From there they place an astounding bet that Farnsworth will win his match against 40th Street Black. The plan works and the two win boatloads, returning home where they save their congregation and sit on easy street as local heroes, leaving behind angry and street-smart betters who know something fishy has happened.

One of these betters is Kansas City Mack (John Amos), who does his research and tracks down the two men with an ultimatum: repeat the hypnosis for his benefit in the rematch between Farnsworth and 40th Street Black or be killed.

Now I know the plot is very far stretched, but believe me when I say that you just can’t find a laugh like this nowadays. With the plot aside, having a cast as well rooted in comedy as this is an absolute treat. Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier are well known for their work in comedy, but those who have never seen the gangly and awkward performances of Jimmy Walker will be in for a real treat. I was more accustomed to seeing his work in the form of dialog, but in this - and I know I will be shunned for saying it - he gives a near slapstick performance that resembles Buster Keaton and other men of the silent-era. By not doing anything at all besides getting knocked out and being an utter failure in his profession, he gives that same underdog sort of helplessness that is so classic that I still crack up when watching it twelve years after the first time I saw it.

Just as awesome is the performance of John Amos, who ironically played Walker's father in Good Times. Here Amos delivers that same stern attitude and miraculous wit that, when juxtaposed with a physically and street-smart inferior, produces a whole difference experience that you’ll be glad to witness.

I, for one, was thrilled to discover that Poitier had done directing as early as the '70s. He’s made plenty of landmarks as an actor both in comedy and dramas and was even the first African-American male to receive an Oscar for Best Actor. So with a story like his it was a surprise and a treat to know that he was able to approach other aspects of Hollywood then and produced a film with great commercial success. Let’s Do It Again is appropriate for more than just adults, as well. Its comedy, though a little naughty at parts, is overall very clean and classic. The soundtrack is groovy, the cinematography is fairly shifty like blaxploitation films of the time, but purposefully so. Can’t complain about the movie as whole. If you get a chance to see it, I’d expect that you wouldn’t either and I hope it infects you in the same way it did me.

Posted by:
Edythe Smith
Mar 22, 2010 6:11pm
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