Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on March 24, 1989 · 92
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 92

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, March 24, 1989
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tt !(! Movies TROOP BEVERLY KILLS rt 1 H PVT5- . 2 i t P O. T)f -NX 1 . mi L 1 fX Shelley Long, of TV sitcom fame, can't rescue this misdirected troop. SEEVDUS EX m MNB Troop' gets an F, but not for funny By HAL UPPER Times Film Critic 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. 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 Waintraub 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- 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 "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. 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 immaturity. Great Food, Great Atmosphere, Great Prices. OpenMon Thru Sat 1 1 jm to ) 1 p m Oprn Sunday II am IO IUD m , am. HAPPY HOUR K, 4-6 M-F I fridge's Kay Blais at the Organ Frl. & Sat. 6-10 RESTAURANT & COVERED BRIDGE LOUNGE 1999 Starkey Road 3 blks North of Ulmerton Rd Serving Pinellas for 25 yean under same ownership 535-3374 ill I t s-s Now Appearing Live . . . ' The Fabulous Oldies of "Bo Santo & The Rock-A-Tones" Every Thursday, Friday & Saturday (9 p.m. 'til close) - 1711 U.S. 19 N., Palm Harbor 789-4323 At Park Aumi prttr lhtwM Nphratka A AlrJrmanl I COUPON HAPPY EASTER 10 OFF fGoes not include Early Bird) EARLY BIRD SPECIALS Fast lunch Service M Chwtt ftilavnnt ondttvng 544.4656 l04S4-66th$tN., hwlimfork tvntl&tt Opn7 VISA, MC. AMIX Dayt ST. PETERSBURG TIMES 7 FRIDAY, MARCH 24,1989

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