What is surprising is Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier didn't have an even more extensive directing career (at least 9 films to his credit) because "Let's Do It Again" is deftly crafted and funny.
Believe it or not, that's quite impressive in an era (1970s so-called Blaxploitation films) hard pressed to find material suitable to African American actors and comedians. In fact by the mid 1970s a few "Let's Do It Again" cast members joined the NAACP in blasting Hollywood for the evident paucity of material and roles for talented blacks because much of what emerged was exploitive stereotypes and had the effect of mainstreaming distorted ethnic and racial images.
In this movie, however, a bearded Bill Cosby (Billy Foster), clean-shaven Poitier (Clyde Williams) team up as do-good Atlanta fraternal order brothers who play the odds to "con" threatening criminal punks so they could cheerfully give gambling winnings to a pet charity. Of course, they have to impossibly hypnotize Jimmy Walker's reluctant and unlikely bone thin boxer (Bootney Farnsworth) enabling him to successfully fight heavier and craftier opponents; convince their beautiful but reluctant wives to go in on the con and, after pulling off a preposterous megabucks "sucker bet" caper, escape the played mobsters by hoofing it through a series of apartment buildings. In one of the cinema's longest and funniest foot chases ever, the duo dashes through an unlocked apartment door running smack into a dining room not quite interrupting a family dinner. The folks seated around the dining table are incredulous for a quick moment and, well, maybe we should leave a few surprises.
The movie doesn't escape the "Mack" flamboyance of the decade, nor did it avoid the annoying 70s "wah-wah" disco soundtrack but it doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator evident in other movies whose stars were African American. On the other hand, performances by Denise Nicholas (Beth Foster), Calvin Lockhart, (Biggie Smalls) deliver a sense of dignity that would not have emerged under the hands of any lesser director in that era.
In the pre-Huxtable Cosby universe, a comic actor shines. Of course, Cosby had resisted such notions during his successful run of the NBC-TV series, playing down and turning away Emmy nominations for Best Actor. In the younger Cosby's personna, there is none of the self-mocking. He's not playing a cuddly version of himself. He's perhaps funnier than anything he presented to the generation who grew up with the Huxtables and "Ghost Dad" (also directed by Sidney Poitier), which makes it plausible for younger viewers to dust off this more than quarter-century old relic and get a kick out of what Poitier was able to do with Timothy March and Richard Wesley's story and script.
Aside from not descending into the group of movies that fall under the category of 70s "exploitation flicks", there is no social comment here. "Let's Do It Again" will give us a grittier maybe funnier Cosby than anything Generation Xers are likely to remember. If you want to escape, indulge in popcorn and have a laugh, this is a fun film.