Jed Clampett strikes oil and strikes out for Beverly Hills in pursuit of a wife to help tame his tomboy daughter. Surrounded by sycophants and con men looking to take advantage of his country naivete, can they be stopped before it’s too late? Find out in… The Beverly Hillbillies.
How?! It’s the classic fish-out-of-water story updated for a modern time. Jed Clampett is out hunting for dinner in rural Arkansas when a stray bullet strikes a giant oil reserve. Selling his land for billions he hoofs it to Beverly Hills with Grannie, Jethro, and Elly May in tow in order to find a wife to help Elly May become a proper young lady (she currently spends her time wrasling bears and the like). Upon arriving they are taken under the wing of the head of the bank, Mr. Drysdale, and his associate Miss Jane Hathaway. Unbeknownst to them, though, a skeezy employee of the bank, Woodrow, and his money-grubbing girlfriend, Laura, plan to trick the country bumpkins into handing over their fortune. Disguised as a French etiquette teacher, Laura infiltrates the family and cozies up to Jed. While the Clampett clan generally charm all those that come across their simple, kind ways, it all seems headed for naught as Jed announces that he will indeed marry Laura. On the day of the wedding Miss Jane and Grannie discover the dastardly plot and at the last moment stop the wedding. The End. The film is also that abrupt in concluding.
Why?! The original TV show was a bit light on motivation. They move to Beverly Hills in order just to take advantage of their new wealth since it seemed like the right thing to do. In the film they solidify this a bit by detailing a fear of Jed’s that his daughter is growing up rough in rural Arkansas without a mother. By moving to ritzy Beverly Hills he hopes to find a sophisticated wife who can teach Elly May to be a proper lady. As for Mr. Drysdale, he’s a sycophant that hopes only to keep Jed’s money in his bank (although he and Miss Jane are pretty nice to the Clampetts nonetheless). Laura and Woodrow are the bad guys that only aim to steal money that is not theirs. Played by Rob Schneider, Woodrow is terribly unfunny and easily the worst part of a pretty silly film.
What?! I was fearing that we wouldn’t get a decent product placement in the entire film and I would be forced to use a conspicuously placed bottle of Shasta soda for this entry (the horror). That is until Jed’s glamorous birthday party when Juthro, shown to be a huge eater in several different scenes (character development!), can’t stand the snobby food. Starving and eager for a decent meal he orders a six-foot sub from Subway! Not joking, it’s a commercial within a film.
Who?! While Zsa Zsa Gabor appears very briefly in a police lineup (for no discernable reason) and the original Jed Clampett himself, Buddy Ebsen, appears as Barnaby Jones, I have to give this section to the queen Dolly Parton. Not only does she sings a full rendition of If You Ain’t Got Love and Happy Birthday, but she wrangled a higher billing than Rob Schneider and Dabney Coleman for a single scene. Good on ya!
Where?! Love the original setting of Arkansas. Fairly brief, but specific. The main setting though sets off a serious A+ Settings Alert! Beverly Hills is essential to the plot and in the title. Can’t beat a satisfyingly A+ setting.
When?! Patrick and I discussed this at length. With some sleuthing it would seem that the film takes place over a 6 month period starting from February 1993, with the wedding taking place on the 10th of August of that year. This is all based on a calendar on Barnaby Jones’ desk and a couple of magazine people read (we are crazy people). Most B- setting that I can remember.
I actually didn’t totally mind this film. Just as silly as something like Dudley Do-Right, but with some characters I liked and I thought the Clampett actors did an admirable job conveying the sweet innocence of the family without becoming insulting… or at least too insulting. Rob Schneider never fails to be terrible though. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! The Beverly Hillbillies? More like the Beverly Fail-billies? That’s a toughy. Jed Clampett just fell ass backwards into a billion dollars and wants to find his daughter a new mother … that’s it. That’s the story, let’s get into it.
The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I like the actors (although I don’t think anyone comes across as decent besides, maybe, Lea Thompson). And the movie is kind of harmless in an oh-shucks kind of way. I would Remake it obviously. Because there is nothing better than remaking a remake of a 1960s television show. I think I would use it as a launching point for a new show, so cast the show and start it with a Beverly Hillbillies movie (hey, why not?) which tells the tale of Jed Clampett falling backwards into $10 billion (inflation, amirite?) and all of a sudden rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elites. Run it like a faux-soap opera, a kind of pseudo-drama comedy. Not the OC, more like a light-hearted Twin Peaks season 1. Is there a show like that? I feel like if there isn’t there should be, and why not use that sweet IP to do it?
The Bad (Sklognalogy) – When I initially watched this movie I thought it was merely boring and harmless. There was silly sound effects, and a ludicrous story about a wedding and a Swiss bank account. But the longer I ruminate the more I dislike it. It is like a two episode arc of a television show premiere. It adds nothing and I can’t quite figure out why it exists. I’ve subsequently seen a few critics say roughly the same thing (see Ebert’s review below), so it was as obvious at the time as well. It just seems so pointless, which is somehow worse than just making a terrible movie in the first place! The Sklognalogy I think has to be Car 54 Where are You? but at the same time, at least that movie decided to do something interesting with that property. Maybe Dudley Do-Right though … I can barely remember that worthless film.
The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – No legacy. This film is just along for the ride with other early-90s tv adaptations. I hope to forget it almost immediately. In StreetCreditReport.com the episode of Siskel & Ebert The Beverly Hillbillies was Siskel’s worst tv remake of the year!! Funny enough Ebert chose Coneheads even though he destroys this film in his own review. I’m not surprised, the film is more of a disappointment and boring, not aggressively bad like Super Mario Bros. Buys a bit into my big-targets theory of bad movie criticism: a movie might be objectively better than other films coming out in the same year, but if you have a big target (here, it is the fact that it is based on a beloved classic property), then you’ll get disproportionately slammed when things turn out poorly.
I wish I could say I watched some original Beverly Hillbillies in prep … but I didn’t really see the point. I watched an episode of Car 54 Where Are You? and just kind of realized shows from that era don’t really have arcs, and remakes tend to not stray too far from the general tone anyways. They barely have characters. Meh, that is what I say to you Beverly Hillbillies.