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
Occasionally good, but mostly broad, comic timewaster
Bright performances are the reason to see Tamara Jenkins' Slums of Beverly Hills, since the situations offered up by the writing consist of the usual comedic complications writers call "quirky" and "zany." Following the nomadic existence of Murray Abramovitz (Alan Arkin), a 65-year-old wash-out father of two teenagers and their kid brother, the movie focuses on Vivian (Natasha Lyonne) the single-parent family's lone female. Vivian is exasperated by her newly sprouted breasts, and a significant measure of the film's comedy arises from this singular obsession. Most out of place is Marisa Tomei, who plays the flaky, pregnant, basket case of a cousin who comes to live with the family. Jenkins would have done well to leave out this completely unnecessary character and devote more time to the challenges faced by Vivian.
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