Down and Out in Beverly Hills | Chicago Reader

Down and Out in Beverly Hills

Paul Mazursky hasn't only remade Jean Renoir's sublime 1931 Boudu Saved From Drowning: he's yuppified it, inverting virtually every meaning until the film becomes a celebration of the crassest kind of materialism. No longer the instinctively anarchic, unpleasant, and irresponsible tramp played by Michel Simon, Nick Nolte's Boudu (renamed “Jerry”) is a thoroughly sentimental concoction—>a magical E.T. figure who, when he's brought into the Beverly Hills mansion of coat-hanger tycoon Richard Dreyfuss, cures all the sexual/psychological traumas of the middle-class nuclear family, and is invited to join it. Bette Midler, as Dreyfuss's wife, once again has a screen role that requires her to repress the most attractive aspects of her personality; a trained dog named Mike gets most of the laughs. With Little Richard, Tracy Nelson, Elizabeth Peña, and Evan Richards.

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