.

The Beverly Hillbillies

Diedrich Bader, Erika Eleniak, Jim Varney

Directed by Penelope Spheeris
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
October 15, 1993

For starters, the audience is treated to a burp, a fart, Granny getting knocked down in an outhouse, Elly May kicking a bear in the balls and the whole Clampett clan giving the finger – these folks call it the California Howdy – to their new 90210 neighbors. So that's what they couldn't get away with when The Beverly Hillbillies ran on CBS from 1962 to 1971. Who says we're not making progress?

Fresh from transferring Wayne's World from the tube to the big screen for big box office, director Penelope Spheeris turns her keen eye for the tacky on a moldier piece of pop-culture detritus about a family of crackers who move on up to Beverly Hills when oil is discovered behind their shack in the Ozarks. At the screening I attended, there were frequent walk-outs after each burst of flatulence and each sight gag about Elly May's boobs. The Beverly Hillbillies is not, as the saying goes, a critic's picture. Still, you want to root for a movie that wallows without shame in leering, fatuous humor. I did – for about 15 minutes – then the sameness set in like an overdose of Beavis and Butt-Head.

Spheeris pushes the actors into overdrive. Diedrich Bader plays Jethro's thickheadedness way beyond the call of duty. And Cloris Leachman, in for the deceased Irene Ryan as Granny, is too frenetic. Amid the chaos, Erika Eleniak (the party girl in Under Siege) finds a sweetness in Elly May. Ditto Jim Varney as papa Jed (Buddy Ebsen, the original Jed, does a cameo as his post-Hillbillies TV P.I., Barnaby Jones).

But the real scene stealers are Dabney Coleman as the banker Mr. Drysdale, who wants to exploit the Clampetts, and Lily Tomlin as his officious assistant, Miss Jane Hathaway, who learns to love them. Though Tomlin puts her unique stamp on Miss Jane, her terrific performance is also an affectionate tribute to the late Nancy Kulp, who originated the role. Tomlin finds the humor and the heart in these hillbillies. The rest is just crude oil.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Hungry Like the Wolf”

    Duran Duran | 1982

    This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com