Film / Down and Out in Beverly Hills

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Down and Out in Beverly Hills is a 1986 comedy directed by Paul Mazursky and starring Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfuss, and Bette Midler.

It tells the story of Jerry Baskin (Nolte), a homeless man who befriends the wealthy-but-stressed-out Dave Whiteman (Dreyfuss) and his equally stressed-out family after trying to drown himself in their pool.

This was the first Disney-produced movie (via Touchstone Pictures) to get an R rating. The subsequent TV series in 1987 attained another first; it was the first series to be cancelled by Fox.


This film contains examples of:

  • Adopted to the House: The Whitemans invite Jerry to stay with them while he gets his head together.
  • Ambiguously Gay: It's not entirely clear if Dave's son Max is gay or just going through an androgynous phase. (He does, however, stare a little too long at Jerry's naked body while he's toweling off.)
  • Comically Missing the Point: At one point, Dave yells, "Call 911! Call 911!", while running with his own phone in his hand.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the beginning of the film, Jerry tries to drown himself in the Whitemans' pool.
  • The '80s: Not as obvious as most films of the era, though Max's andro get-up just screams "80's glam rock", and Barbara is rocking the '80s Hair.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: The Whitemans have a Latina maid named Carmen. Dave has been carrying on an affair with her for several years.
  • Foreign Remake: Of Jean Renoir's 1932 French comedy Boudou Saved from Drowning.
  • Gainax Ending: It seems like a Happy Ending, but David takes a moment to pause and wonder if it's such a bright idea to let Jerry back into the fold before heading in.
  • Ironic Echo: At the start of the movie, Dave saves Jerry from downing in his swimming pool. At the end of the movie, Dave tries to drown Jerry in his swimming pool.
  • Kavorka Man: Jerry eventually beds every female in Dave's household.
  • Le Film Artistique: The only way Max can communicate with his parents, it seems.
  • It Came from Beverly Hills: It's in the title.
  • Papa Wolf: Dave tries to drown Jerry after he slept with his daughter.
  • Pretty in Mink: In the film posters, Barbara is wearing a full length fox fur coat over her shoulders.
  • Reality Ensues: Played with. Jerry admits he's been playing a part for the Whitemans, asking, "What did you want to hear? Real pain? Real sorrow?"
  • The Remake: The film is an American remake of the French farce Boudu Saved From Drowning.

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