Troop Beverly Hills movie review

troop-beverly-hillsI don’t think any movie was on TV in the early 90s more often than Troop Beverly Hills. Like Clue, the movie performed poorly at the box office and lost over $10 million, which made both flicks a cheap pickup for stations that were looking to fill time with affordable movies. This easy availability and constant exposure engrained Troop Beverly Hills onto my young mind in a way that makes it nearly impossible for me to look at this film objectively. Nearly.

Every once in a while, I’ll break a review out into the The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which doesn’t have much to do with the film of the same name, but it’s a useful way to look at a solid but flawed film.

The Good:

The thing that holds this movie together is the earnest performances that the entire cast gives. Sure, it’s silly, but they all believe it, so the audience believes it. It might not be the best story, but the movie has three solid acts and character development. This movie may have sunk Shelley Long’s career (as far as I can tell, she never starred in a major motion picture again after this – probably because the film lost so much money), but she’s giving it her all here. Craig T. Nelson might only have one speed, but he’s maximizing his… Nelson-ness. A super young Tori Spelling also shows up as an antagonist (Red Feathers!) and don’t forget Jenny Lewis (back in the 80s, was on pretty much every show), who displays her powerful cute factor here that made her such a dominant force back in the day.

The Bad:

Like many 80s movies, this film falls prey to the one-dimensional 80s bad guy, but I’m fine with that. Sure, these characters are completely flat (this one reminds me of the bad guy from One Crazy Summer more than any other 80s bad guy…), but they serve their purpose in the movie in a clear and concise way, which is better than being confusing.

“We’ll never beat the magic of that first take!” In some ways, this movie is very cheap – they just couldn’t be bothered to re-shoot stuff that clearly didn’t come out the way it was supposed to – people bump into furniture a lot in this movie (a clear violation of the second rule of acting), and not on purpose.

The Ugly:

One of the worst messages you can ever convey in a children’s story is that separated/divorced parents will get back together. This movie has this problem in spades,but then, so did lots of movies back then. It was an epidemic back then, but that doesn’t excuse the film for filling children with false hope. Movies are certainly welcomed to give us escapism fantasy, but it’s better not to traumatize kids while they’re at it.

The bottom line is that this is still a fun movie for kids. I’m giving Troop Beverly Hills a 7 out of 10… or maybe I should say 7 slap bracelets.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on September 9, 2013, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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