Most helpful positive review
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
For some reason I really like this film!
on September 17, 2002
The story of a tramp who finds his way into the household of a rich family, and gradually changes their lives. I must admit, I often see homeless people and wonder what they would look like if given a new haircut, a bath, and a set of clothes, and cinema has given us some good transformation scenes of this type over the years. Where Nick Nolte excels is that his greying (real) beard just looks so scuzzy (he lived on the streets for a efew weeks before starting filming) yet once clean-shaven with just a moustache he looks really good. He is helped by a very fit body, with no sores or bruises, which is perhaps not so realistic. Nolte's performance in the role vindicates Paul Mazursky's decision to cast him in the role, something studio bosses were cynical about in view of his trouble with alcoholism. Similar reservations were voiced about co-stars Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler, yet all three turn in really good and funny performances. There is a great guest appearance from Little Richard, who also performs a couple of numbers in the film.
This seems dated now, but not in a bad way. The hair salon scene and the son's new romantic pop group remind us of the worst excesses of 1980s style, while the remainder of the film reminds us of what we were really like in those days, with our over-reliance on fads (the guru, the dog psychologist, the radio psychologist) and neglect of important issues like homelessness and our own children.
Above all, this is an enjoyable, thought-provoking comedy.
If you can find it, I would also recommend the book by Ian Marter.