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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida • Page 92
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida • Page 92

Tampa Bay Timesi
St. Petersburg, Florida
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tt Movies TROOP BEVERLY KILLS Cast: Shelley Long, Craig T. Nelson, Betty Thomas, Mary Qross Director Jeff Kanew Screenplay: Pamela Norris Margaret Grieco Oberman Rating: PG, profanity Running Time: 105 minutes EnwUant Vwy good Good Mvdioer Poor -NX rt 1 T)f 1 1 fX "Troop Beverly Hills" relies on contrived situations and caricatures for Hs humor. For comparison, we need only consider "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," a movie with the same setting and similar characters. PVT5- 2 i O. mi Waintraub Shelley Long, of TV sitcom fame, can't rescue this misdirected troop. SEEVDUS EX MNB Troop' gets an but not for funny By HAL UPPER Times Film Critic bands, hanger manufacturer Richard Dreyfuss and muffler king Craig T. Nelson. Yet Down and Out in Beverly Hills' humor is unforced because it evolves from a single crisis, a transient attempting to drown himself in a family's pool. Troop Beverly Hills instead veers from one shopping spree to the next while its filmmakers pad its cast with cameos by Leach, Zadora and Cheech Marin, and include inane movie references. An example: During a fund-raising drive, a militaristic supervisor sniffs the air and says, "I love the smell of cookies in the morning," an allusion to Robert Duvall's most memorable line in Apocalypse Now. Such nonsensical statements will leave youngsters fidgeting with confusion. Other double en-tendres like, "Do you like people to call you dictator or Dick? will have parents fidgeting not with embarrassment, but indignation over the movie's spend. The characters are stereotypical. Troop members include the daughters of a Jackie Collins-inspired novelist and a deposed dictator whose wife possesses a legendary shoe collection. Having earned merit badges in diamond appraisal, money laundering and sushi appreciation, and sold thousands of cookies at Spago and Giorgio, the girls of Troop Beverly Hills set off for a wilderness jamboree. There, they compete in an orienteering contest where their honesty, tenacity and witlessness win out. Troop Beverly Hills relies on contrived situations and caricatures for its humor. For comparison, we need only consider Down and Out in Beverly Hills, a movie with the same setting and similar characters. Housewives Bette Midler and Shelley Long are interchangeable, as are their hus- Jeff Kanew is not sufficiently skilled to take Troop Beverly Hills where it must go, which is hiking through the wilds of Rodeo Drive and roasting marshmallows over a crackling fire in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Kanew, whose subtlety as a director was demonstrated in Revenge of the Nerds, bungles even the simplest elements in Troop Beverly Hills. There is no rhythm, no sense of comic delivery, no emotional investment on his part or that of the movie's cast, except Long, who appears to think a Beverly Hills matron would possess the same personality as her Cheers waitress. Admittedly, there is little to like in screenwriters Pamela Norris' and Margaret Grieco Ob-erman's designer-label comedy. Troop Beverly Hills concerns a wealthy housewife who leads a Scout troop, in part, so she can demonstrate to her estranged husband that she can commit herself to a worthy project. The movie's humor is on Brownie Scout level. Yet, the most elaborate gags the campers trudging through the brush with yellow-and-white striped Giorgio backpacks will likely be lost on young viewers. The dialogue is pure sitcom: PHYLLIS NEFLER (Long) Marriage is a partnership. FREDDY NEFLER (Craig T. Nelson) Yeah. I earn, you There are some laws of nature we might as well accept: Gravity exists, the world is round, and movies with Pia Zadora, Robin Leach, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Annette Funi-cello are not funny. It would take a supremely gifted director to pack a cast with such a disparate assortment of annoying traits into a single tale, particularly when the exercise is led by the queen of sitcom hauteur, Shelley Long. I COUPON HAPPY EASTER 10 OFF fGoes not include Early Bird) Great Food, Great Atmosphere, Great Prices. EARLY BIRD SPECIALS Fast lunch Service Kay Blais at the Organ Frl. Sat. 6-10 ill OpenMon Thru Sat 1 1 jm to 1 Oprn Sunday II am Now Appearing Live The Fabulous Oldies of "Bo Santo The Rock-A-Tones" Every Thursday, Friday Saturday (9 p.m. 'til close) HAPPY HOUR 4-6 M-F I fridge's Chwtt ftilavnnt IO IUD am. RESTAURANT Serving Pinellas for 25 yean under same ownership ondttvng 544.4656 hwlimfork Opn7 VISA, MC. AMIX Dayt COVERED BRIDGE LOUNGE 1711 U.S. 19 Palm Harbor 789-4323 At Park Aumi prttr lhtwM Nphratka A AlrJrmanl I s-s 1999 Starkey Road 3 blks North of Ulmerton Rd 535-3374 7 FRIDAY, MARCH 24,1989 ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

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