A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Beverly Hillbillies is a 1993 remake of the well-known 1960s sitcom. There is some iffy and stereotypical humor, including an incest joke (because the characters are rural), a man dressed as a woman, and sexual innuendo and double entendres. A woman fights a bear. There is some bullying by "jocks," but these jocks are put in their place by Elly May, who out-wrestles the bully by applying a move called "the hickory nut crunch." Characters also chew tobacco and employ the middle finger, as they believe it's a sign of friendly greeting in Los Angeles. There's also some rifle-play, and a character pulls a gun on other characters.
What's the story?
The Clampetts are a humble family living in rural Arkansas, but all that changes when father Jed (Jim Varney) inadvertently discovers oil on his land and becomes a billionaire overnight. The family relocates to Beverly Hills, where they begin to adjust to their new lives. With the help of Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills CEO Mr. Drysdale (Dabney Coleman) and his assistant Miss Jane Hathaway (Lily Tomlin), Jed looks for help not only in financial matters but also in the search for love. A greedy and evil employee of the bank named Woodrow (Rob Schneider) overhears this plan and conspires to send his girlfriend, a gold-digging con artist named Laura (Lea Thompson), to find a way to win Jed's heart and steal Jed's wealth for themselves. As the family and Miss Jane suspect Laura (who pretends to be a French woman named "Laurette") as a fraud, they must find a way to prevent a wedding from happening.
Is it any good?
This is a very self-aware, very 1990s remake of a classic sitcom. The irony that this movie was directed by the same woman who directed The Decline of Western Civilization should be lost on no one. It doesn't really veer too far off from any typical episode of the original TV show, and even with an all-star cast who clearly looks like they're having fun, it doesn't really add up to anything interesting. You're better off just watching reruns of the old show.
There's also questionable humor throughout, especially viewed from the perspective of a modern audience. An incest joke at the expense of rural people is as tasteless as it is trite, as is Diedrich Bader playing not only Jethro but also the cousin Jethrine. It's the kind of forced humor that characterizes so much of this movie. Really, there just doesn't seem to be any reason for this movie to be in existence, except to remind us of Hollywood's love of somewhat ironical remakes of '60s and '70s TV shows.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how stereotypes can be used for intended humor. How does this movie attempt to find humor in the perceived behavior of "rednecks"?
Why do you think movie studios release remakes of popular movies and TV shows from the past? Which shows or movies would you remake?
Who is the intended audience of this movie? Do you think you have to be familiar with the original show to enjoy this story? Why, or why not?
- In theaters: October 15, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: April 10, 2012
- Cast: Jim Varney, Diedrich Bader, Cloris Leachman
- Director: Penelope Spheeris
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Some off-color humor.
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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