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
With the film taking place in 1976, the Boeing 737 shown landing was a "classic" or a "next generation" model, these were not introduced until the 1980's. See more »
When Vivian's brother steals food from her plate several times in the Sizzler, he reaches with his left hand, but it is a right hand that grabs the food in the reverse shot. See more »
[Eliot and Viv are giving Rita a lift to her boyfriend's place]
All right, we're close. I know this neighborhood. I do a lot of business up here.
Really? What do you do?
He deals drugs.
Vivian! Will you mind not going around misrepresenting me like that? Jesus. I just don't want anyone to the get the wrong idea that I'm like some kind of school yard pusher.
Oh, I don't mind. In fact, do you have anything for my nerves? You know, just laying around?
Seconal, Demerol, Tuinal, Valium, ...
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Natasha Lyonne stars as a teenage girl growing up in various slums in Beverley Hills, but her family cannot necessarily afford to live in them. After moving around for most of her life, her family's finally found a place to call home with help from her uncle's money. The catch is that they have to watch after their troubled daughter (Marisa Tomei) and make sure that she makes a transition from drugs to a career worthy of their name.
That's not spoiling so much, I don't think, because the movie has much more depth than that. This very original drama/comedy features a great, universal struggle of living without proper means and making life work. It's a coming-of-age film for Lyonne's character who sees the beginnings of her womanhood, struggles of relationships, and maintaining her family's name and reputation through whatever means possible.
It's really touching how the Abromowitzes handle themselves and make each others' experiences memorable. The aging father (Alan Arkin) is truly memorable in this film for his struggles in finding out an end to poverty and loneliness without his wife. A great film altogether, not very long (only about 1 hr. 30 min), and easy to watch all the way through. Definitely a buy on DVD (even if the special features aren't all that special). I gave it an 8/10.
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