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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
An assault on the shallowness of the rich, the film promotes friendship, responsibility, and doing the right thing. Messages take a back seat to parody.
Positive Role Models
Main character begins as a shopaholic, shallow, self-involved rich woman; over the course of the film, she learns to be slightly less shallow and less self-involved. Stereotypes: masculine, mean scout leader; Latina maid; gay designer; overweight women. Scout troop is ethnically diverse.
Violence & Scariness
Farcical pratfalls. Scout leader falls off a window ledge; teeters on an unsafe bridge; falls into a swimming pool. Troop encounters a snake and a skunk. Villain falls and breaks her ankle. The girls tell portions of mildly frightening ghost stories. In a brief scene after a scout leader picks up a skunk, she's wearing a "skunk hat," implying that she killed the skunk. After a starter's gun initiates a race, a bird falls from the sky, implying that it was shot.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Comic innuendo includes: mentions of breast implants; an elderly man eagerly grabbing a "girly" magazine; and observations about a divorced father's new girlfriend "sleeping over." Also, in a CPR training session, the handsome police officer and the troop leader exchange mildly suggestive remarks. Skimpy clothing is worn by women participating in an exercise class. A husband and wife kiss several times.
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Occasional swearing: "damn," "slut," "bitches," "hell," "s--t," "screw." Suggestive dialogue: "boffing," "boob job," "felt his manhood rising to a frenzy." Brief, infrequent sexual innuendo.
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Products & Purchases
An onslaught of images and references to upscale products and stores as a means of identifying materialism of the Beverly Hills elite: Evian, the Beverly Hills Hotel, Gemballa autos, Rolls-Royce, Cartier, Vogue, Spago. Other products featured: Head athletic gear, Kmart, Laura Ashley, Coca-Cola, Abbey Party Rents, and several magazines.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Troop leader smokes frequently, often using a cigarette holder and emphasizing the activity. She also drinks wine in numerous scenes; other adults often join her.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Troop Beverly Hills, a fish-out-of-water comedy released in 1989, like its heroine Phyllis Nefler is not aging gracefully. Phyllis, would-be leader of the Wilderness Girls of Beverly Hills (an unflattering parody of the Girl Scouts), smokes incessantly, drinks wine at any hour of the day or night, and initially is clueless about the needs of the troop of young girls put in her care. It's all in a quest for laughs, and there definitely are some of those, but the gleeful put-downs of people with money are so exaggerated that any sense of reality is lost within moments of the opening credits. Stereotypes include: selfish, amoral, shallow people with money; a hard-edged female scout leader; a gay designer; a hip-hopping young African-American; a Latina housekeeper; and a dimwitted businessman. Occasional swearing and sexual remarks ("damn," "hell," "s--t," "bitches," "slut," "boob job," "boffing"), and there is mild sexual innuendo in several scenes. The action is all farcical: pratfalls, a shaky bridge, an encounter with a snake, a short ghost story. Product placement is exhaustive; expensive brands and places fill the screen with images of affluence. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There's not a real moment in this silly, shallow movie, teeming with stereotypes. But if you can get past that, and the fact that the leading lady drinks, smokes like a chimney, and is a "child-parent" at best, the movie has some moments of broad, funny comic moments. The outrageous costumes by Theadora Van Runkle are classics of bad taste, eccentricity, and preposterousness. In a word, they're a hoot. Ms. Van Runkle's creations alone may make this movie worth watching. And, though everything is predictable, obvious, and over the top, there are laughs. Kids will root for the barely functional, well-heeled housewife and the spoiled, poor little rich girls she brings to the "scouting" party.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.