Vivian's family are penniless nomads, moving from one cheap flat to another in Beverly Hills so she and her brothers can attend the city's schools. Uncle Mickey sends them money to survive. When Mickey's daughter Rita runs away from an asylum, Vivian's dad offers shelter to her if Mickey will pay for a plush flat. Vivian must babysit her adult cousin, making sure she gets to nursing school and avoids pills and booze. But Vivian has her own problems: she's curious about sex, likes an older neighbor kid, has inherited her mother's ample breasts, and wants a family that doesn't embarrass her. Can she help Rita, keep Uncle Mickey happy, and feel OK about her body and her family? Written by
THE SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS (3 outta 5 stars) I figured this was going to be just another silly movie about the trials and tribulations of spoiled rich kids in Cali. Actually it's a pretty good coming-of-age story circa 1976. Vivian (Natasha Lyonne) has just grown breasts and now considers herself deformed. Her dad (Alan Arkin) is a divorced man of almost-retirement-age who has never been able to provide a stable home for his kids and keep dragging them from place to place like nomads (and presumably keeping one step ahead of bill collectors). One brother is a struggling actor and the other is too young to really fit in anywhere. In a desperate attempt to make ends meet Arkin takes in his troubled 29 year old niece (Marisa Tomei), charging his rich brother a fee for keeping an eye on her. So they all move into a small, cheap Beverly Hills apartment block and try to cope. Very funny moments... punctuated by some heavy drama and some unexpected twists. One of the better roles that Alan Arkin had had in recent years... proving that he hasn't lost his touch as he's gotten older (unlike many other comic actors of his generation). I have never been much of a fan of Marisa Tomei but I liked her a lot in this movie. The scenes of her and Lyonne conversing in their "secret language" are priceless!
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