IHAO on ... Troop Beverly Hills - READER REQUEST

requested by Paul Conroy

For a long time this has sat on my pile of films to watch.  Luckily I waited long enough, because it popped up on Netflix December 1st, and I've finally found myself time to review it!

Before it started, I had a few expectations of Shelley Long.  I had seen her previous in only two places: Cheers and a made for TV ABC special version of Freaky Friday.  I loved Freaky Friday and I hated Cheers.  When watching Frasier, the episode with Shelley Long in that was a Cheers parody came up and I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it, and her.  And I realized that I had been placing blame of a character and writing style that I didn't like on the actress.  So I started this film with a fresh mind, especially considering how many times the requester told me how much he loved the movie, and he and I have some pretty common ground when it comes to film comedies we think are funny.  But is this movie funny?

Absolutely.  Absolutely is it funny.  I want to sit down and do a double feature with it and Major Payne some day, because both movies are similar in plot: major character is odd and going through personal things while having to help a bunch of kids who all have their own problems and issues, and together they all help everyone while also stopping the evil bad guys.  Troop Beverly Hills' plot and characters are for the most part less nuanced than Major Payne, which is one of my few true criticisms of the film, but it makes up for it by being exceptionally clever.  I have never laughed so hard at the opening of a jar of mayonnaise, and it is all in Shelley Long and Craig T. Nelson's acting and comedy chops without an ounce of dialogue.

I wanted to put the mayonnaise joke here in gif form, but I couldn't make it.  So I put this instead.  No reason.

The acting all around in this film is fantastic.  The script is mostly really great, though the villain is so cartoonishly villainous after seeing such interesting nuanced characters in the Neflers.  The real drawback is that the film has some crazy editing and direction in places, and some very on the nose music choices.  Every now and again a scene will cut to the new scene the second a line ends, which is crazy abrupt and the lines always felt like Phyllis had more to say.  Then there are emotional insert scenes that, while good, are shot as if they were a completely different movie, like the scene where the "spy" played by Mary Gross throws away her spy equipment, triumphantly ignoring the villain's wishes.

The movie is really fun and endearing, with some cliches that make it a little harder to swallow, but think of those cliches and bad bits of filmmaking as just a gel-cap that dissolves away making you in the end just feel better.  The movie doesn't break any new ground, but watching Shelley Long and Craig T. Nelson and all the girls do such a great job acting is really worth price of admission.

Grade: B+

Tomorrow will be the set up for the rules of the IHAO Dirty Santa game, with the next day being pictures and thoughts about the whole game!  I hope you are all excited, because I put a stupid amount of work into this that is almost entirely unnecessary.  Buh-bye!

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