Mel Brooks plays a "high society" billionaire with no sense of humanity to balance all that wealth. He accidentally stumbles into a bet motivated by greed and pride. In order to win he must survive one month as a homeless, penniless "derelict" in the streets of Los Angeles.
For me, Mel Brooks has always been a risk. He has his moments, when he's on -- he's really very funny. But, he takes a lot of shots and most of those shots aren't gems.
Additionally, these days (I viewed this film on cable in 2004), he's "old School" comedy. Anyway, "Life Stinks" isn't really a Brooks film. Actually it seems to have a hard time deciding exactly what it is. In the open and close the film favors the slapstick, but in its center the film plays nearly purely dramatic. This leaves one with a disjointed feeling.
The Brooksonian slapstick here is nothing to rent the film over. Oddly, it's the serious moments that give the film its charm. A pathetic homeless woman rants about the woes that brought her to the street as a speechless Brooks looks on compassionately. Ironically, Brooks' strongest moments in this picture are these wordless, nearly expressionless reaction shots as his character starts to feel compassion for the first time in his life. It's subtle; it's surprisingly very believable, and rather shockingly moving. I was embarrassed to myself for being truly choked up by Mel Brooks.
This theme is nothing new, but a wholesome one. But, I'd have preferred more continuity and a better-developed script.