Back in the 90s, there was a bit of a boom of 1960s tv adaptions, from The Addams Family, to The Flintsones, and others. Some of them were hits, others not so much. One such [entry] was the 1993 film The Beverly Hillbillies. Which side of the ridge does it fall one? Let's dig right in and see...
Rural farmer Jed Clampett is out hunting for food one day when she shoots at a rabbit and uncovers an enormous oil deposit. = immediately come to pay a fortune for the land ,and on the guidance of his relatives and friends, Jed takes his family to go live in Beverly Hills. Once there they get used/accustomed to their new life and all the strange attitudes and devices the cityfolk have, facing adversaries in the process. While the Clampetts are nothing but generous, a scheming banker and his girlfriend hatch a plot to steal all their money...
The Beverly Hillbillies is plenty of fun. It takes the show's story and transplants it well to a film setting, never feeling barebones or overstuffed. The tone and spirit of the classic series remains, with the Clampetts being different and certainly more =cultured than =, but otherwise smart in their own ways (besides Jethro), and always being the kindest people in the room. They're like the Addams in a way, except without all the death and macabre stuff.
The movie begins with the Clampetts origins, and shows them as they go from poor to rich, and the various struggles and fun they get through in their new life. It's amusing, and never overstays its welcome, and the conflict comes in a well-paced way, with the villains slowly unfurling a plan of seduction and theft.
The biggest issue that Beverly Hillbillies could have faced was that of one of format. Since this is based off a tv show, there's a pretty sizable cast. In a show you'd see some of them in some episodes, and others in others, but as this is just one movie, it's gotta include everyone and juggle them efficiently. Thankfully it succeeds. Some characters don't get a huge amount of screentime, but no-one feels wasted or unnecessary, and everyone contributes in at least some way. It's a shame there was never a sequel, but ah well, at least this is a complete experience.
The comedy here is all amusing. There's plenty of humour in various ways, and it never just settles on one Nor does this feel like it's lowest common denominator humour. Many scenes had me cackling away, and it's always good-hearted too, never obnoxious or mean-spirited.
Jim Varney is a great lead as Jed Clampett, getting across a traditional hillbilly persona that's amusingly exaggerated, but not to an obnoxious degree. He never overdoes it, and he brings plenty of heart to the role too. Diedrich Bader and Erika Eleniak are fun in different ways as Jethro and Ellie-May, while Cloris Leachman is both gentle and fierce as the manic Granny. Lily Tomlin is a standout/highlight as helpful assistant Jane Hathaway, while Dabney Coleman does a fine job as the more ambiguous but ultimately good Mildburn Drysdale. As the villain's are Lea Thompson and Rob Schneider. The former is deliciously evil and pretty, while the latter is thankfully more normal and restrained than in other films. He's also surprisingly clean! =
The music here is a fun mix of banjos and other hillbilly tracks, as well as typical 90s family/comedy film music. All round a nice score, with soft harmonies, bouncy pieces, and a good rendition of the famous theme song.