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Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 1

Warm, real, and hilarious.

audience

68

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 8,595

My Rating

Movie Info

Tamara Jenkins wrote and directed this comedy-drama depicting the experience of growing up poor in the 90210 zip code, told from the point of view of Vivian Abramowitz (Natasha Lyonne), a teen who lives a nomadic existence in the outskirts of Beverly Hills with her single, divorced father, Murray (Alan Arkin) and her two young brothers (David Krumholtz, Eli Marienthal). As Murray tries to keep the family in the Beverly Hills school district, the family moves into a one-bedroom apartment in a

R,

Art House & International, Comedy

Tamara Jenkins

Jan 19, 1999

20th Century Fox

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Slums of Beverly Hills

January 22, 2007:
Sundance Interview: RT Talks With "The Savages'" Tamara Jenkins
In the cult hit "Slums of Beverly Hills," director Tamara Jenkins created a darkly comic...
August 23, 2005:
In Other News...Natasha Lyonne, Brad 'n Jen, and Kirsten 'n Jake
According to the NY Post, American Pie star Natasha Lyonne is in the intensive care unit of New...

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (12) | DVD (5)

Funny, well acted comedy from a new director whose career shuld be watched

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though hypocritical in the way it sensationalizes sexuality, this serious and funny 1998 movie about a 15-year-old coming to terms with her body and her family in 1976 is, refreshingly, never coy or ironic.

January 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A small film with plenty of incidental pleasures, writer/director Jenkins' debut feature puts a winning new spin on the adolescent comedy-drama.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's an alchemy that can transform personal experience into a great film, but it was nowhere nearby when Tamara Jenkins wrote and directed this lacklustre first feature.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What lifts this brash comedy above the vulgar herd is Tamara Jenkins in a heartfelt feature debut as writer and director.

May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Generally Jenkins shows few rookie jitters, and she got excellent performances from the rest of her cast.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a slight movie but a brave one

November 25, 2007 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Uneven but filled with flashes of painful insight into the pitfalls awaiting adolescent girls.

January 12, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Aside from Corrigan, there is nothing that I can recommend about it.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

not as bad as the title makes it sound

December 12, 2003
Greenwich Village Gazette

Not much humor here. The statement about white trash is lost in an incest subplot. Just a mess.

July 14, 2003 | Comment (1)
About.com

A marvelous, fresh new coming-of-age comedy-drama, one that breathes fresh new life into the genre.

May 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

Intelligent, humorous and thoroughly poignant, this can easily hold its own with the best comedies of the year.

May 14, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Terrific performances from Alan Arkin and Natasha Lyonne dominate this engrossing look at a financially strapped Jewish family trying to survive despite their penury.

February 2, 2003
Nitrate Online

Lyonne is a natural, and clearly a young actress to watch.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

Refreshingly real.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Ultimately it's all a bit predictable -- the cyclical story more or less ends where it begins -- but it's nevertheless a charming and delightful romp, with keen observations about character, time and place.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

This zany comedy written and directed by Tamara Jenkins is filled with humorous takes on sexuality in the 1970s.

March 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

It's hard for me to sympathize with people I don't like, and except for Lyonne's character I didn't like anyone in the story.

May 28, 2001
Movie Metropolis

It covers some serious topics about adolescence, but it does it with a wink and a knowing nod; some things that are tragic when you're 14 are quite funny in hindsight.

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Audience Reviews for Slums of Beverly Hills

All time favourite. Love this movie, so many funny scenes in it. Natasha Lyonne is just perfect for this role.
Sweet comedy about growing up in the 70's with a bit of bite to it.
September 29, 2013
romy861

Super Reviewer

Natasha Lyonne has had many indie roles in television and film that are quite interesting, and this has to be one of her most enduring ones to date. This is Lyonne's largest leading role; before she made it into the "American Pie" franchise. This coming of age tale is really quite interesting, not just because of its setting being in the seventies, but because the family featured are great examples of how nuclear families were all but decimated by that time. Their dispassionate feelings towards one another, and their pure dysfunction, are what holds the film together and what yields the more poignant and tender moments onscreen. Alan Arkin, as the philandering father to an apartment full of rowdy kids, is always inhospitable and yet gives a monumental performance. Arkin cements himself, in my eyes, as one of the most underrated and yet talented actors of his time because the role of Murray is so perfect for him. As he shifts between filthy apartments, shuffling his kids around and yet telling them they deserve the finer things in life, we see a man that has all but given up and yet trudges on. Lyonne is also powerfully adept in her role, as she navigates the problems of young adulthood. Though she remains the main fixture of the film, and gives a knockout performance as Vivian, she doesn't overcrowd the film, which also contains many great supporting performances. Marisa Tomei is especially notable as the disillusioned Rita, fresh from rehab and starting her life in Beverly Hills, trying to find the man she left behind. Really the film remains very unsettling throughout, because it shows what it truly means to be poor when everyone around you is perfect. More than that it's what happens when you're not living the life that's always been promised. The complexities of this family are very real and solemn throughout the film, while also being funny at times. This has got to be the best unknown indie film of the nineties, because it seemingly hits every perfect note and yet doesn't even try.
September 4, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

A great piece of work. One of the most underrated independant films of the 90's.
January 11, 2008
YLOWBSTARDreturns

Super Reviewer

Reasonably funny.
November 19, 2006
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

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