Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) Poster

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9/10
Entertaining comedy with scene-stealing dog
jhaggardjr21 June 2000
"Down and Out in Beverly Hills" is a very funny 1986 comedy from director Paul Mazursky. Nick Nolte stars as a down-and-out bum who one day, after his dog leaves him and goes to live somewhere else, tries to drown himself in the swimming pool of a rich couple. The man of the house (played delightfully by Richard Dreyfuss) saves his live and decides to take him in despite the objections of his wife (played wonderfully by Bette Midler). The bum becomes an influence over everybody in the household. Plus, their dog starts to love the bum. There are big laughs throughout the film, though the movie is a little less funny than Bette Midler's other 1986 comedy "Ruthless People". Still, "Down and Out" has some terrific performances from Midler, Dreyfuss, Nolte, and the rest of the supporting cast. But the real scene-stealer here is the performance by Mike the Dog as Matisse, the canine with a dog psychiatrist. Mike gives one of the best performances by an animal of all-time.

***1/2 (out of four)
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7/10
An American Remake of a French Comedy Featuring a Winning Cast...
Isaac58551 May 2007
DOWN & OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS is a smart American remake of the French film BONDU SAVED FROM DROWNING updated to modern day Beverly Hills. In this version, a homeless man accidentally wanders onto the property of a wealthy Beverly Hills family and tries to drown himself in their pool. Upon rescue, the family takes pity on him and take him in but the bum gets a little too comfortable and begins biting the hand that feeds him (in more ways than one). Nick Nolte gives a rock solid performance as Jerry, the homeless bum who ends up running the Whiteman home. Nolte has rarely been so convincing in a role...apparently he spent several weeks on the streets of LA pretending to be homeless in preparation for the role. Richard Dreyfuss plays Dave Whiteman, the wealthy owner of a hanger company who takes Jerry in and initially envies Jerry's freedom before Jerry goes too far. Bette Midler is very funny as Dave's social climbing wife Barbara and Tracy Nelson plays their snooty college student daughter. Evan Richards also has some funny moments as the Whiteman son, Max. Paul Mazursky's spirited direction (Mazursky also cameos as one of Dave's fat-cat friends)and a clever screenplay help to make this one of the more entertaining comedy confections from the 80's. There is also a scene-stealing performance by a dog named Mike, who plays the Whiteman family pet, Matisse.
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9/10
Excellent all around
caa82122 November 2006
Still funny upon seeing it the second time - 20 years after its first-run viewing. Every character is likable - Nolte, Dreyfuss and Midler in the starring roles, and every one of the primary co-star and the supporting cast.

Nolte is an outstanding actor, and this role and his harder-edged character in the great "North Dallas Forty," are among his very best. Many actors exhibit far different personalities off-screen than "on" ( e.g. Nicholson), or are downright goofy in real life (Cruise, Jolle, Affleck/Lopez, etc.). But I've never seen any whom I wish might be more like his on-screen persona than Nolte. The guy has charisma, believability, and is completely likable in every role.

Here, he staggers, pretty much literally, homeless, into the mansion of a Beverly Hills wealthy family as dysfunctional (although pleasantly so) as any on the planet.

Of course, his presence and "counsel" take care of all their neuroses - bringing a relaxed enjoyment of life to Dreyfuss, a reawakening of sexual delight in Midler, enjoyment (and relief from anorexia/bulimia) to the winsome daughter, direction to the frustrated adolescent son, happiness to the sexy Latino maid, and effecting a change in the family pooch to where he can now enjoy the pleasant life of a contented, happy pet.

The diversions and hi-jinks in the story are also pleasant - often these necessary components of a film can detract - and the equally necessary closing events lead to a pleasant rapprochement and a happy ending.

An excellent, "feel good" viewing experience.
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8/10
Great acting and casting provide plenty of laughs.
TOMASBBloodhound28 November 2010
Sure it hasn't dated all that well, but look at this 1986 hit as a nice time capsule of L.A. from that time period. A period that basically ended with the sobering and terrifying riots of 1992. Down and Out in Beverly Hills deals with a well-to-do yet dysfunctional family having its priorities rearranged by a bum who first attempts to drown himself in their swimming pool. Nick Nolte, looking only a little scruffier than his 2002 Hawai'ian shirt mugshot plays the Jerry Baskin character on different levels. Early on he seems much like the typical run of the mill schizophrenic homeless person chasing after a dog who found himself a better owner. Then, after his dunk in the pool, we see that he is actually quite intelligent and observant. Almost instantly he sees what is wrong with everyone in the household. He just can't seem to point any of that intellect toward improving his own situation. Even when it is laying there right in front of him.

The patriarch of the family is Dave Whiteman who embodies some of Richard Dreyfuss's better work. He is very successful, yet he it just too uptight. Something seems lacking for him. It isn't the appearance of the bum that sets him off. He actually is the one who most wants him to stay if perhaps to live vicariously through him in some ways. Bette Middler is on hand as Dave's sexually unfulfilled wife who mostly spends her time with worthless self-help gurus. She even has one hired for their cutesy little dog. Nolte is apparently the only man around who has what it takes to recharge her batteries in bed! The family has an attractive yet obviously anorexic daughter and an androgynous son. A sexpot Hispanic maid is also on hand for Dave to use at his will... that is until Nolte moves in on her as well. The film takes place over about a month's time and there really isn't much plot to speak of other than seeing how these characters are altered by Nolte's character.

The film has several funny moments, and thankfully Ms. Middler is not allowed to sing too much. The theme song by the Talking Heads is always welcome to the human ear. Some of the comedy, mostly involving the cutesy dog reactions and Little Richard's exasperated yelling are more annoying than anything else. There are some great performances and many funny observations about successful Angelinos at that time. Not much of a message to be learned from any of it, however. Maybe that is why it works. 8 of 10 stars.

The Hound.
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6/10
Good grouping on easy target.
Robert J. Maxwell2 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I visited a deli on Rodeo Drive just before this movie was released and was staggered by the uniformity in grooming. It was like a small-town high school in the 1950s. All the women looked alike. Beautiful. Their long hair fluffy, each strand curled like Top Ramen. (Okay, okay. I lack the vocabulary. Excuse me.) They all seemed to wear the same dark rough-knit long-sleeved sweaters, tight Levis, and leather boots. This is what one kills for? The privilege of wearing a uniform? Paul Mazursky has got the milieu down pat and he skewers it. I haven't seen the French original but, though it may be different, it's probably not funnier than this version.

I'll skip the story except to say that it's about a homeless man (Nick Nolte) who is taken in by a wealthy dysfunctional family, and he straightens everyone out by giving them what they want -- as he puts it. Some gags are funnier than others, helped along by Mazursky's direction. When the spoiled, bored wife has an orgasm with the bum, she screams so loudly that the neighbors a block away turn to listen. A flock of pigeons is frightened out of its tree. I can't think of another movie that features a psychiatric veterinarian.

The climax, unfortunately, is more silly than funny, as if nobody could think of an ending that would stop what's already gone by. Mazursky had the same problem with "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice," at the end of which the sting of genuine phoniness gives way completely to fantasy and everyone does a ring dance to "What The World Needs Now Is Love..." In "Down and Out in Beverley Hills," a party ends with the accidental setting off of a fireworks display and everyone jumping into the pool. You almost wince at the desperation behind this scene.

And then, in a denouement, when the bum decides to leave with the family dog, the whole family and their servants follow him into the mews behind the mansion and beg him with their eyes to come back, which he does quickly enough. Sure, it's a happy ending, but just exactly what is going to happen when Nolte returns after he's been exposed as a lying, manipulative, lazy scuzzbag who has given the son permission to be a transvestite and has been doing both his host's wife and daughter? All he had with him when he first entered the family was a pocket full of rocks. This time he's got a lot of baggage.

Still, it's a light-hearted and engaging comedy, and none of the acting hurts a bit. Aside from the doggy's psychiatrist, I thought Little Richard was the most memorable character, especially when he complains about how much longer it takes the police to respond to HIS emergency alarm than his white neighbors'. (The dog chases him away, tearing at his golden robe.) Dreyfus is quite good too, reminding me of his performance as the exasperated and finally mad psychiatrist in "What About Bob?" Mazursky wisely avoided any attempt to insinuate overt signs of "seriousness" into the screenplay. A comedy doesn't need dark undertones to be successful, and this is successful.
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8/10
How did I get here?
johno-2126 May 2006
When Nick Nolte was arrested for DUI in 2002 and they published his mug shot picture I thought it was Jerry Baskin. I first saw this film during it's initial theatrical release and found it very amusing. This is a re-telling of playwright René Fauchois' Boudu sauvé des eaux that was made into a film in 1932. In this story the rescued drowning man is played by Nick Nolte who is a down and out former actor who is homeless and had but one friend, his stray dog. He can't find his dog and wanders into the backyard of a Beverly Hills dysfunctional and affluent family where he plans to end it all by drowning in their swimming pool. Homeowner Richard Dreyfuss comes to the rescue and the homeless man, Jerry becomes a wanted and unwanted guest in their home. Bette Midler is Dreyfuss' wife, Tracy Nelson is the daughter, Evan Richards is the son, Elizabeth Pena is the maid and Little Richard is the next-door-neighbor. A fun situational comedy, the screenplay was written by Paul Mazursky and Leon Capetanos who collaborated on several films with Mazursky. Mazursky is a multi-talented director/writer/producer/actor who also appears in this film. He got wrote and produced I Love You Alice B. Toklis and then went on to big success as the director of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. In the 70's he had some other notable films that he directed including Harry and Tonto and An Unmarried Woman but his only film of note in the 80's was Moscow on the Hudson and after Down and Out in Beverly Hills directed only seven other films of little note and his writing creativity seems to have stalled to as he only wrote four more screenplays in the past 20 years. Cinematographer Donald Mcalpine is this film's photographer. He's had recent success with Chronicles of Narnia. Some of his other films include Mrs. Doubtfire, Predator, My Brilliant Career and Breaker Morant. Andy Summers of the rock band the Police provides the music score. The Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime which was 6 years old was used as the theme song of the film and it suddenly became a charting single. This is a good film if you've never seen it and a good look back to the 80's. I would give it an 8.0 out of 10.
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9/10
Fun And Games In Beverly Hills
bama111125 August 2000
I may not know what's funny, but I know what I like. I thought this movie was absolutely hilarious. I don't know, or care if it is supposed to be a satire or not. Between the son and the dog and the neighbor and the anorexic daughter and the maid, not to mention the three main characters, there are many funny moments. Nick Nolte, insinuating himself on this dysfunctional family, headed by Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler, appears to steer them all in the right direction, with plenty of nice moments along the way.
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7/10
A homeless man is a adopted by a rich family
blanche-222 July 2007
Nick Nolte is "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," a 1986 film directed and co-written by Paul Mazursky and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Pena, Little Richard, and Tracy Nelson. Nolte is Jerry, a street person so low even his dog leaves him for a kind jogger. While searching for his dog, he stumbles onto the property of Dave and Barbara Whiteman - Whiteman is a clothes hanger king living the good life in Beverly Hills. Filling his pockets with rocks, Jerry attempts suicide by diving into the Whiteman pool, but is saved and ultimately taken in by Dave. Jerry isn't particularly grateful - he wants Courvoisier instead of the alcohol offered him, and, given dinner, questions the meat on the turkey. Dave, guilty about his wealth, bored with his life, and wanting to do some good, buys Jerry clothes and lets him live at the mansion. He even offers Jerry jobs, which Jerry doesn't accept. Jerry's history is on the vague side - he speaks of doing the concert piano circuit, he is recognized in a restaurant by as a writer, maybe he did some acting...hard to know. Before long, he's taken over the entire household, becoming the only one in the house that the Whiteman's psychologically disturbed dog, Matisse, can tolerate, Barbara Whiteman's masseuse and the man who finds her G-spot, the lover of housekeeper Carmen (Pena) after Dave goes back to sleeping with Barbara, the man who gets the Whiteman's anorexic daughter (Nelson) to fall in love with him and start eating; and the man who convinces the androgynous Whiteman son to come out to his parents. Too late, Dave realizes he's Dr. Frankenstein, and Jerry is the monster.

This is an entertaining film with dark undertones and good performances, particularly from Nolte, Dreyfuss, Midler, Pena and Mike (Matisse the dog). Little Richard is a riot as a neighbor. Nolte is in great shape here, as is Midler, who looks fantastic. The party scene toward the end of the film where Dreyfuss chases Nolte throughout the house and grounds is quite funny. The ending isn't the best, but it's a fun watch anyway.
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7/10
"Shaddup, you pudtz!"
The_Movie_Cat9 September 2000
Warning: Spoilers
WARNING: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU'VE SEEN THE FILM.

Down and Out in Beverley Hills is a comedy, which, bizarrely, gets funnier every year.

Whereas it's release saw it as a fairly standard screwball farce, time sees it more and more as a parody of vain 80s obsessions. Among the targets are the growing trends for therapists, jogging, alternative religions, designer drugs and fashion diets.

Richard Dreyfuss is perfect as Dave Whiteman, the nonplussed businessman in the centre of the chaos going on around him. Whereas in some movies the "cute dog" would be irritating, even this element is satisfying thanks to the open hatred he and Dreyfuss displays towards one another. I particularly like the scene where, unable to wreck Whiteman's sexual encounter with his mistress, the dog vindictively sets off the burglar alarm. Another nice touch is an early spoof reference to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", which of course starred Dreyfuss in the lead role. Closer inspection of the film reveals that it's also a lot wittier than you remembered.

Bette Midler's meditating, shallow and indulgent Barbara acts a light counterpoint to the social conscience thrown up by Nick Nolte's tramp, Jerry. Jerry's entry into the household, 35 minutes in, initiates a radical change in all the characters, with Jerry seducing all three women in Dreyfuss' life, helping his son to out himself, and taming his dog.

What makes this film a little bit special is the slightly darker, thoughtful edge it portrays. While it admittedly doesn't see through all the issues it throws up, this is a more intelligent than average comedy, with neatly drawn characters and a satisfying resolution.
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6/10
Well-meaning comedy shows its age
stephen niz21 July 2000
Seen today, DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS is hampered by its obvious eighties-ness, which still doesn't detract from its fair quota of charms. When a homeless man, Jerry (played by the ever-reliable Nick Nolte) is saved from drowning in the swimming pool of nice-guy millionaire Dave (Richard Dreyfuss), his subsequent welcome into their family has unpredictable implications for Dave's badly-adjusted lot.

The humour is still by-and-large amusing after all these years (a highlight being when Dreyfuss hangs out on the beach with Nolte's fellow bums), even if the periphery characters are slight and shallow. The appearance of Little Richard early-on signals he's got to find a piano before the film is through. Unfortunately, his character - a black record producer unhappy at the implicit racism of the suburbs - has nothing else to do in the mean time.

While it hasn't stood the test of time, hamstrung by its good intentions and badly compromised ending, DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS is an amusing diversion. The most surprising outcome you draw from watching again a family that does not communicate is just how well the issues were addressed in AMERICAN BEAUTY, an altogether darker comedy, but more funny, sincere and resonant.
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7/10
Infectious fun
Martin Bradley28 May 2006
This isn't one of Mazursky's better, serious films but it is an awful lot of fun nevertheless and it stays in the memory. It's an American reworking of Renoir's "Boudu sauve des eaux" and in the role of the scampish tramp it has the great Nick Nolte who looks like a disheveled bear. He's the Boudu character rescued by Beverly Hills businessman Richard Dreyfuss who is as genial and as soft as a poached egg and who radiates goodness. He's the kind of man who feels he has to set the world to rights but isn't pushy enough to do it. That can't be said of his jiggly wife, Bette Midler, who is brash, lewd and who seems to be wearing dresses several sizes too small for her. Midler moves like a mini tornado and her performance has some of the energy of her stage shows. Between them, Nolte, Dreyfuss and Midler bring combined wit and intelligence to the material. They seem to be having a right old time and their pleasure is infectious. Mazursky keeps things on a low boil and lets his players have their rein. It's to our advantage.
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6/10
Paul Mazursky on familiar ground
Michael Neumann14 November 2010
Paul Mazursky's southern California update of Jean Renoir's 1932 comedy 'Boudo Saved From Drowning' stars Nick Nolte as a skid row derelict rescued from attempting suicide in the backyard swimming pool of upscale executive Richard Dreyfuss. Installed quite suddenly in the lap of luxury, Nolte begins exerting unusual influence over his benefactors, but the ambiguity of the character and his intentions is needlessly destroyed in the final scenes. Mazursky is on familiar ground for most of the movie, as always at his best when mocking the lifestyles of the rich and trendy, but it's a shame that he felt compelled to combine scenes of near sublime social satire with indiscriminate numbskull farce. Someone should have told him that seeing people fall fully clothed into a swimming pool (as most of the cast is required to do at the film's climax) is only funny when you're there to witness it firsthand.
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7/10
Time capsule
ratnazafu23 December 2006
One of the charms of Down and Out is it's "dated" quality. Paul Mazursky has a great talent for capturing an era in popular culture and some of his movies, such as Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice are incredible historical records of their times as well as durable entertainment. Down and Out jump-started Richard Dreyfuss' flagging career, as well as Bette Midler's as a movie actress and Little Richard as a popular singer. This is something modern audiences probably don't know, just a historical side note. Nick Nolte prepared for the part by actually living on the street and not bathing for a month. An actor who takes his parts seriously.

Another fun quality of Mazursky's films is that he puts his friends and family into his movies. Don Muhich, the dog psychiatrist, was Paul's psychotherapist in the '70s and has that role in two other Mazursky movies (B&C&T&A and Blume in Love)
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10/10
A Rich, Bette, and a 'bum' in Beverly Hills
Benjamin Wolfe26 July 2006
The fact that this movie was nominated for awards and only took one of the 4 or 5 nominations, is just perplexing. Bette was fun and did a good job, she was nominated. Dreyfus, was superb as Dave Whiteman, tongue-in-cheek, I love it! Richard Dreyfus was not nominated. But 'Nolte' as the Bum Baskin, 'Jerry', should have at least been nominated, that is absurd that he wasn't, in light of a 'capitol' performance! I had not seen this movie in many years. I had seen so many others and thought about viewing this again, when I finally bought the DVD, I was blown away! This movie hasn't lost and inch of it's original comedic height.

Nolte (Jerry Baskin) looked as if with every step he took, that he was about to fall off the end of the earth. He looked like a street guy with atrophy in his muscles, from sleeping on sidewalks. He played down and out and 'bum' to the very edge. It was the best bum in any story that I have seen or could remember. I was interested in following this character through more than one or two scenes. For instance, in the park, staggering through after the absence was felt in regard to his 'Little tan dog' he bellowed out questions to passers by then, found himself at the mall. While inside, he abruptly inquired to the patrons interrupting their conversations and meals with no awareness or understanding as to what's going on with anyone, but himself.

Then afterward when he's escorted out by two mall security guardsmen, his reactions, words and inflections were just 'picture' perfect. I have worked in places where there were many a transient at times and 'Nolte' being that character, with his attitude and abilities, just became, 'King'. In addition the two lead characters have something in common...dog problems! 'Matise'(Mike the dog) steals part of the show and chews on it a little. It was a riot when he got 'insensed' at 'Little Richard' and became a little anxious!! This little fellow, is a double-threat...'cute' and 'funny' too. He is a great supporting k-9 cast member. Mike does a great job as the family pet who ends up as jerry's little side kick.

Not too far down the line, the introduction to 'the family' through Dave was a classic cinema moment in modern times. He 'up-ends' the whole apple cart, here. The even funnier parts are how things eventually turn and shift for Ole' Dave. I enjoyed the politically incorrect wit and sharp comedic retorts. The characters are developed to a 'T' and they interact and play out in absolute excellence. I would only recommend this to people that will understand and enjoy a hard driving politically incorrect film, with the enjoyable cynicism that this has. But even for those not well versed in movie intellect, this one is hard to miss, it really drives it home! It's infectious and in a way very timeless in some of the overtones.

I rate it a Ten. (****)
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6/10
Lacks spice and urgency, down but not out
Steve Pulaski26 November 2011
Down and Out in Beverly Hills features an excellent cast doing probably their each individual best work. The casting itself is pitch perfect right down to the two dogs. But I believe the problem stems from the direction. The films claims it's a comedy, when really, it's a chuckle-delivering drama. I think director Paul Mazursky accidentally made the premise a bit too serious.

You know how people say a film is "love it or hate it?" I think Down and Out in Beverly Hills is "love it or accept it." I think of these kinds of films sort of as "elegant comedies" where the sets and actors are very classy, but it's questionable you'd want to see a movie with those kind of characters. Other movies I believe fit into my sub-genre are Arthur and Fierce Creatures. They aren't bad films, but I don't believe the characters are interesting enough to carry the weight of a full length film on their backs.

The plot: A rich family's life is changed when a bum tries to commit suicide in their backyard pool. The family is made wealthy because the husband, Dave Whiteman (Dreyfuss), is the head of a coat-hanger factory. His wife Barbara (Midler) is happy with the wealth, but unsatisfied as a person. Her and Dave's relationship is complex and she is more often than not left unfulfilled by her husband.

The bum is played fantastically by Nick Nolte. His name is Jerry, and after his "faithful" dog companion runs away to find a home with a jogger, Jerry jumps in the Whitemans' pool when it is draining to try and kill himself. Seconds away from being gone, Dave jumps in to save the man and to revitalize him as a human being to make him happier in life.

An act of role reversal is made here where the happier half is the bum and the sadder half is the wealthy family, so the film gives a sincere look at how some people live their lives and how some are happier than others. The problem is just in the way it's executed which is hard to explain. It's hokey and not as inspired as it would seem.

Paul Mazurksy has a talent for squeezing the most out of his actors and giving them constant, incorruptible, shockingly well-built chemistry. Later in his career, he provided the same chemistry to Woody Allen and Bette Midler in Scene from a Mall, a movie that besides the chemistry, has little to offer. The setup between the three leads is anything but contrived and highly welcomed as they each give their own sense of screen magic.

So, what is wrong with Down and Out in Beverly Hills? It's honestly hard to say. I sat through the whole thing, no interruptions, and upon finishing it I reached a quandary. I didn't know if I liked what I just watched. Sitting down, writing this hasn't helped much either. I think it's one of those films that is cute, warm, and gentle, but that's it. There's nothing wrong with that if that's what you're looking for, but there isn't much urgency or attraction equipped in the script. Just a bunch of characters wandering around, awaiting the next predicament to fall into.

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Bette Midler, and Nick Nolte. Directed by: Paul Mazursky.
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9/10
The Best Film of 1986
asc8511 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Not that 1986 was a bellwether for good film-making, but I thought this was the best film of that particular year. Mazursky's work as a director has famously been erratic, and this was the last good thing he did. Richard Dreyfuss was surprisingly good in this film, and it was a treat to see Little Richard, and his song "Great Gosh A Mighty" which some may not remember, came from this film (although no Oscar nomination for Best Song!). And a lot of the film's small touches (the doggie psychologist, the Jewish father always complaining there's not enough white meat in the Thanksgiving turkey), made this one of the few films I've ever laughed out loud watching.
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5/10
Gloppy Class Comedy
Bill Slocum14 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Funny to see how little attention "Down And Out" gets today - bare-bones DVD release, a paucity of IMDb reviews, a modest Wikipedia entry - given that less than 25 years ago this was one of the highest-grossing comedies of its day. What happened?

The stamp of the 1980s may be part of the problem. A very '80s look and vibe surround this social satire, where a bum named Jerry (Nick Nolte) is rescued by hanger tycoon Dave Whiteman (Richard Dreyfuss) and put up in his fancy Beverly Hills estate. Jerry finds ways to ingratiate himself with everyone in the household, even the normally hostile Whiteman dog Matisse. Dave soon finds reason to curse his generosity.

I'm in agreement with ratnazafu's earlier comment that this film's connection to its time is part of its charm, though its pastels-and-neon visual signature is not for everyone. The script by director Paul Mazursky and Leon Capetanos is fun and arrestingly non-formulaic, but rather underbaked in such matters as who Jerry really is and what the issues are with the Whitemans' distrait offspring. Most critically, there's a tonal problem at the center - Nolte's direly realistic acting manner clashes with the film's overall cheerful and lightweight spirit.

"There's something very threatening about you," Jerry is told early on by Dave's wife, Barbara (Bette Midler).

Nolte famously prepared for the role by living for days as a vagrant (insert obvious Nolte joke here), and I think the experience made it hard for him to settle into a comedy about being homeless. His gruff, bleary manner is established early and never quite goes away, even as the script paints him in the role of a smooth-talking rascal.

In one scene, we see Dave and some new homeless friends parody the famous "We Are The World" song in a drunkenly over-the-top, amusing manner. Nolte is in the center of the frame, but tries to get out of the shot by hiding his face behind a pole. I don't think he saw himself acting in a comedy, and for the most part, he isn't.

Dreyfuss and Midler, on the other hand, have a lot of palpable fun, and their careers deservedly got huge boosts from their performances here. At times Dreyfuss seems to be channeling Jackie Gleason, but it works, especially as he develops Dave as a genuinely likable character frustrated by his new friend Jerry's refusal to join the rat race. Midler does well with a tougher part, a shopaholic narcissist. "That was the cherry on the cake of my day" she groans when Dave tells her he saw their son in a tutu.

Jerry finally achieves his breakthrough with Barbara through sex, a device the film not only plays up with a silly orgasm scene but repeats with the Whitemans' maid and daughter. The latter ravishment proves a breaking point for Dave, who loses it in a big finale which throws up as much fireworks as it can in a way that points up the story's overall lack of nourishment.

Mazursky movies have a unique quality, full of ideas and visual invention, diverting enough so that you don't particularly mind even when they don't go anywhere special. There's nothing dislikable about "Down And Out", unless maybe you are Nick Nolte, but nothing memorable, either.
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10/10
hello guest book!
david13 April 2006
i love that movie :-) i watched down and under in Beverly hills at the age of 15 over and over again. (maybe about 50 times!!) (TV)~~~~~~~~ (-:~ by now i am 29. one year ago i got the DVD and even now again, i watched the movie already 3 times again.

to me the beauty in that move is: exactly all those gaps in between of the characters in that movie give it a wondrous atmosphere. i love the way the rugged gets lost inside the family without having any attachments towards the offers he gets from everybody. he remains completely non attracted.

a similar feeling i got from "barfly" - Mickey Rouke being an alcoholic "bar-boxer" (-: cu? * David

In Germany "Down and out in Beverly Hills" is known by the title: Zoff in Beverly Hills)
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8/10
you can be poor, you can be rich, you can be.. happy ..
bmpc14 June 2001
you can be poor, you can be rich, you can be.. happy ..

This is a really cool movie. The first time I saw it, a few years ago, I enjoyed it so much .. I've seen it over and over.. and I can still apreciatte it ..

Nick Nolte does a really nice job playing a man without a home, but who has certain happyness and good street friends. The scene on the beach shows that really well. And Richard D's character also gets that.. In the other side a rich, but not so happy family. Nick Nolte brings hapyness to the family .. proving that money isn't always happyness..

It's a really good movie, hope it gets out on DVD R2 at my country ASAP..
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10/10
A Must See For Bette Fans!
poopsiy23 February 2001
Bette is great in this movie. The plot is very funny and is even more enjoyable by the actors. How this never got any Oscars is beyond me.

Every time I watch this it just gets funnier and funnier. The humor is handled in such a classy manner and plays out so well that you just have to love it. A great film.

10/10
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7/10
Great Fun!
namashi_15 February 2014
Based on a French play, 'Down and Out in Beverly Hills' is great fun! An engaging film that comes in-tact with a well-done screenplay & knock-out performances by its superb cast.

'Down and Out in Beverly Hills' Synopsis: A millionaire adopts a homeless bum only to make things go crazy.

'Down and Out in Beverly Hills' is entertaining from start to end. Sure, there are some loose ends in the writing, but for the most part, the film works largely. The Adapted Screenplay is well-done & pretty funny too. Paul Mazursky's Direction is crisp. Cinematography, Editing & Art Design, are fabulously done.

Performance-Wise: Nick Nolte is simply flawless as the homeless bum. He emerges a scene-stealer here! Richard Dreyfuss & Bette Milder are excellent, as well. The on-screen chemistry between Dreyfuss & Midler is, electric!

On the whole, 'Down and Out in Beverly Hills' succeeds.
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5/10
Rambling, empty film.
gridoon20 December 1999
This supposed "satire" lacks two things that are essential for a satire: a target and a purpose. The fact that it's even today considered to be a "satire" is extremely puzzling; I wonder if there is one person who saw this film and understood what exactly this movie was meant to satirize. But the movie has other problems, besides its utter pointlessness; the most serious one is that it's rarely funny. It adds up to a rambling collection of episodes, most of which are passable and watchable enough, but none of which is funny or meaningful or strong enough to stop the film from sinking. A waste of time.
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Sunny, light and fairly amusing happy-go-lucky comedy.
Silverzero3 May 2003
`Down & Out in Beverly Hills' is a good film in retrospect. It's one of those bright, `just for fun' comedies that existed between 1982 and 1992. Sadly this genre that consisted of feel good movies such as `L.A. Story', `Mr. Destiny' and `My Blue Heaven' doesn't exist in the fast moving world of today. Anyway, the film isn't perfect and has plenty of bad flaws.

One of the problems is the way the film grips at the start, but into the last half-hour, it begins to ramble and loses your attention. It could have done with some rather un-necessary scenes being excised. In the supporting cast, the acting standard is a bit ropey. Even though the film is only 99 minutes, it only barely going into overlength and getting too nonsensical. Only one more quibble- the title. Surely they could have come up with something a bit more attractive than `Down & Out in Beverly Hills'. But the film isn't completely marred by these flaws.

The acting standard is quite good. Back in the days when we could understand what he was saying, Nick Nolte gives a terrifically eccentric performance as the happy-go-lucky tramp brought into this stylish environment. Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler are quite good in their respective roles as the neurotic husband and the spoilt rich wife. While the rest of the acting isn't anything above adequate, the characters themselves are likeable. With the flamboyantly effeminate teenage son, the anorexic daughter and even a rather pointless cameo from rock & roll superstar Little Richard.

Even if it tends to bumble a bit towards the end, the theme song (Once in A Lifetime) starts and ends the film on a good note, leaving you with nothing but memories of the good things in the movie. There are some flaws in the narrative and in general, but if you don't take the film seriously, then you'll probably like it. I did and I though it was good. So I give it 6.4/10.
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Very basic and not all that funny...
MovieAddict201616 September 2003
Rich couple Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler have to cope with their teenage son whose dream is to become a filmmaker, a little dog...and a homeless bum of the streets (Nick Nolte) who has decided to move into their house. Long story. Unfortunately, getting there isn't all that fun. The gags are all very routine - I laughed a handful of times. Dreyfuss and Midler and Nolte are all superb actors (well, good actors, anyway), which makes me wonder why they signed onto this.

* * 1/2 out of * * * * *
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4/10
Why All The Fuss?
ReelCheese16 July 2006
It's difficult to decipher why so many critics seemed to love this disappointing comedy. Nick Nolte stars as Jerry Baskins, a bum "rescued" by wealthy David Whiteman (Richard Dreyfuss) after a suicide attempt in the rich man's swimming pool. The next thing he knows, Jerry is invited to live with the Whitemans, including horny housewife Barbara (Bette Midler). Soon everything is turned upside down for David.

The premise is good enough, but the movie lacks... oh, what do you call it... oh yeah, laughs. Despite trying, it's consistently unfunny and downright boring at times. None of the characters is particularly likable, either. Don't bother seeing this one; instead, pile it up with the others in the "could have been good" bin.
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