Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Popular African-American comedian Jo Jo Dancer is severely burned while free-basing cocaine. Producer/director/writer Richard Pryor insists that the movie is not autobiographical. While hovering between life and death, Dancer flashes back to his childhood, when he grew up in a brothel. Producer/director/writer Richard Pryor insists that the movie is not autobiographical. Dancer decides to become a comic, but has a great many difficulties rising to stardom until he begins making scatological comments about race relations. Producer/director/writer Richard Pryor insists that the movie is not autobiographical. As he rises to fame, Jo Jo has problems controlling his drug addiction and womanizing. Producer/director/writer Richard Pryor insists.....Well, you've caught on by now. If one were able to excise the excruciatingly boring "introspection" scene, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling would stand as an excellent testimonial to Richard Pryor's cutting-edge comic brilliance.

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Richard Pryor
as Jo Jo Dancer/Alter Ego
Debbie Allen
as Michelle
Art Evans
as Arturo
Carmen McRae
as Grandmother
Paula Kelly
as Satin Doll
Billy Eckstine
as Johnny Barnett
E'Lon Cox
as Little Jo Jo
Tanya Boyd
as Alicia
Michael Ironside
as Detective Lawrence
Frederick Coffin
as Dr. Weissman
Ken Foree
as Big Jake
Bebe Drake-Massey
as Angry Prostitute
Charlie Dell
as 1st John
Bebe Drake
as Angry Prostitute
Edy Roberts
as Madelyn
Michael Prince
as Screening-Room Producer
Rocco Urbisci
as Screening-Room Director
Rod Gist
as Manager
Lou B. Washington
as Backstage Manager
Larry Murphy
as Male Attendant
Linda Hoy
as Emergency-Room Nurse
Dennis Hayden
as 1st Policeman
Sam Hennings
as 2nd Policeman
Rashon Kahn
as Bodyguard
Tracy Morgan
as Female Heckler
Gary Allen
as Male Heckler
Jack Andreozzi
as 1st Gangster
Martin Azarow
as 2nd Gangster
Dean Wein
as Stage Hand
Joanna Lipari
as Nightclub Patron
Robin Torell
as Michelle's Dance Partner
Laura Rae
as Dawn's Friend
Erika Marr
as Showgirl
Roxanne Rolle
as Showgirl
Deon Pearson
as Charlie
Erastus Spencer
as Mr. Spencer
Edwin Hausam
as Desk Clerk
Howard L.W. Fortune
as Hotel Bouncer
Dewayne Taylor
as Boy on Bus
Gloria Charles
as Lady at Grandmother's House
Mary Bond Davis
as Lady at Grandmother's House
Cheri Wells
as Lady at Grandmother's House
Valerie McIntosh
as Lady at Grandmother's House
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Critic Reviews for Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (1)


October 11, 2008

Completely forgettable

January 23, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

The sorrow is real, the pity is palpable - but Richard Pryor should have let someone else film his life story.

August 3, 2002
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

If it hadn't been directed by its subject, it would have been a great disservice. As such, it's just a major disappointment.

March 11, 2002
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling

though writer/producer/director/star Richard Pryor insisted this pic isn't autobiographical its a case of art imitating life if u know what I mean, I liked this one though not pryor's best.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

It isn't the best directed film, but the film excels most when Pryor is allowed to illustrate very painful, true elements from his life (he maintains this film isn't autobiographical, but since he's pretty much the only black comedian raised in a brothel with several wives, a drug issue, and an accident that set him on fire while freebasing, it is clear that is not entirely accurate). Whether it be the burning accident that almost took his life (which frames most of this story), his destructive behavior in each of his many marriages, his conversion from a Bill Cosby type act to a dark and profane but brilliant social commentator, the film touches on these elements in a way that brings them to life and Pryor's comedic virtuosity is constantly evident. The film falls flat when it is pulled away from Richard, especially during the nightclub scenes, and the severely 80's soundtrack from Herbie Hancock is pretty camp at this point. It is a very flawed film with some secondary performances that are wildly forgettable and an "Its a Wonderful Life" type theme that has mixed results (sometimes its hilarious, sometimes heavy handed), but it still is a treat and a real insight for fans of the comedian.

Michael Clayton
Michael Clayton

tell professional FILM CRITICS they are total JIVE-TURKEYS. JO JO DANCER is a 100% film; a true autobiographical film about Richard Pryor . Professional Film Critics "suck" and they don't know anything about what makes a good film. not every film has to be BEN HUR or CITIZEN KANE or THE GODFATHER or THE BICYCLE THIEF to be a good film. screw those jive-turkey no good "so called" professional film critics. any film can be a 100% without having to be NEW YORKER-friendly. film critics ruin film-making totally

Gordon Terry
Gordon Terry

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