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Down and Out in Beverly Hills
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2002
After more than 15 years, this comedy still elicits huge laughs and the primary reason for that is it's sharp. It bites. No comedy can last through the years without some noticeable degree of sharp social irreverence built into it. It just can't be done. And this comedy is nothing if not irreverent.
Based on the '30s French farce Boudu Saved from Drowning, the American director Paul Mazursky does a terrific job of fusing stinging satire with mock pathos as Nick Nolte's street bum Jerry, having lost the last thing important to him--his dog--decides to end it once and for all. Stumbling into the upper crustean Beverly Hills, he manages to locate a swimming pool at whose bottom he decides to meet his maker. The pool, as it happens, belongs to Richard Dreyfuss' Dave Whiteman, a very wealthy wire hanger mogul, and his daffy wife played by Bette Midler.
Dave's maid, the always fetching Elizabeth Pena, is playing hanky-panky with Dave, yet Dave is not without a heart. He catches sight of Jerry right after his plunge and rescues him, and the rest, as they say, is hysterical.
Everybody, as it happens, winds up loving Jerry--Dave's wife, Dave's maid, Dave's dog, Dave's son, and Dave's daughter. And even Dave himself. What 'love' means here depends on who is doing the loving. Dave's neighbor is Little Richard who can't help but toss in a couple of his songs here and there, which adds to the romp that is this film. Jerry manages to teach just about everybody a thing or two about life--even the dog learns how to eat regular dog food from him.
These days, as the rich get slightly--but not a lot--less rich, and the poor definitely get poorer, it's refreshing to see a comedy that irreverently laces into both. This really refers to class under attack here, and that word has more than one meaning. Social class, what we think of as class (as in 'a class act'), and what we learn from each other (it's Jerry who leads the class--he's the real teacher here) all get the treatment.
A great satire well worth watching, if not owning. Don't miss.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2002
Dubbed as the comeback for the three starring actors, this movie is rather laidback and allows the stars to easily do their best and make the movie work. Nick Nolte easily plays the bum who is taken in and cleaned up by the rich family and who is a charmer. Richard Dreyfuss plays the rich man who takes Nolte in and he does a good job with many funny scenes. Bette kinda steals the show as the rich, stuck up wife who is rather standoffish as she seems as if she's better than others in her own mind. The supporting cast which includes Little Richard, a dog, and others help to make the movie work well as they support everyone else with a nice chemistry throughout. THe movie also works because it is both funny and touching at the same time. Good Job!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
What a great comedy, which only goes to prove that Nick N. is truly a great actor. And let us not forget Richard D. and the wonderful Bette Midler!!!How could you miss with this cast!!! A personal fav of mine and glad to get it on DVD!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 1999
I love this movie. It's funny, the cast is perfect. I thought the party scene was priceless!! Saw it on TV about a month ago, and if it was on today I'd watch it again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
If you like Bette Midler, and I've never seen her in a bad movie, this is the movie you will want to see. She's at her best. The entire cast is fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2008
Richard Dreyfuss,Bette Midler and Nick Nolte deliver Oscar-worthy performances in this 1986 Buena Vista comedy about a wealthy couple(Dreyfuss and Midler) who take in a homeless man(Nolte). Beverly Hills factory worker Dreyfuss spots Jerry,the homeless man,one day while driving to work. Outspoken Midler refused to welcome Jerry but with her husband's persuasion,she reverses her decision. Bearded Jerry is shaved down to a moustache and he begins to enjoy his new life in the Beverly Hills mansion he now shares with the couple. One memorable scene is where a party is thrown and Little Richard Penniman,as himself,provides music on the piano(like he does professionally). Jerry ends up fed up living in the mansion that he decides to return to vagabond life. That decision is later reversed. Director Paul Mazursky is a very good friend of Dreyfuss's and Midler's and in fact,they,on separate occasions,would do more films together(MOON OVER PARADOR starring Dreyfuss and SCENES FROM A MALL starring Woody Allen and Midler).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 1999
I don't know about the reviewer from georgia, but this movie had me in stiches. If good entertainment is what your looking for this is it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I totally enjoyed watched this movie. All the characters are hilarious, even Matisse, the dog, who I secretly think steals the movie. Richard Dreyfus is terrific as the father trying to hold his very eccentric, (but normal by today's standards) family together. Bette Midler is hilarious. Between her facial expressions and her wiggle, I couldn't stop laughing. NIck Nolte plays a very convincing role, and Little Richard is over the top, as only he can be. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie again after not seeing it for several years. I will watch it again soon!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2001
An rich couple (Oscar-Winner:Richard Dryfuss & Bette Milder) are semingly happy couple living in Beverly Hills. An smart con man & also a bum named Jerry (Nick Notle) trys to kill himself in the couple swining pool. Then Dave (Dryfuss) has unexpected friendship with Jerry. Dave's family are taking the liking of Jerry. But Dave become jealous of Jerry likeness towards people and he's changing people lives.
This film has great comic performances by Notle, Dryfuss & Milder. Directed by Paul Mazursky, dialogue is funny & the sytle is great. An terrific comedy has become a classic. Grade:A.
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