Down And Out In Beverly Hills (1986)

PAUL MAZURSKY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.5

USA, 1986.  Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners II.  Screenplay by Paul Mazursky, , based on the play Boudu Sauve Des Eaux by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Paul Mazursky.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Golden Globe Awards 1986.  

This hilarious comedy is a remake by Paul Mazursky of Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved From Drowning.  It stars Nick Nolte as a homeless man who tries to drown himself in a Beverly Hills millionaire’s pool and ends up being saved by him and taken in by his family. Richard Dreyfuss plays the hapless millionaire who helps Nolte back onto his feet, while Bette Midler is a zany riot as Dreyfuss’s frustrated wife who sublimates her desires into her materialistic indulgences. Their marriage isn’t doing too well and their kids are so messed up that Nolte ends up doing a lot more for them than they do for him, and it’s all a colourful good time to be had for the audience. Downsides: it’s the eighties, and gay jokes (such as the son’s desire to wear a tutu being a reflection of their upper-class corruption) and tasteless comments about AIDS are unfortunately considered acceptable. The film’s box office success led to two more hits for Midler and Touchstone Pictures, Ruthless People and Outrageous Fortune, and Mazursky would later cast her in another shallow remake of a foreign classic with Scenes From A Mall (Bergman Lite).

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