Shelley Long discovers that when the going gets tough, the tough go camping in Troop Beverly Hills. Flamboyantly wealthy Phyllis Nefler (Long) has everything money can buy – a Beverly Hills mansion, a classic Rolls, furs, jewelry and designer gowns. The one thing she doesn't have is her husband Freddy (Craig T. Nelson), who's leaving her for good. Maybe. Determined to prove she's still the creative, energetic woman Freddy once loved, Phyllis throws luxury to the wind and becomes the leader of her daughter's Wilderness Girls troop. But how much can this chic cookie take before she crumbles?
I grew up watching 'Troop Beverly Hills', and even though I wasn't in the Girl Scouts or even a teenage girl, I still fell in love with the story and characters in this extremely charming movie. Generally, the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Cub Scouts of America try to teach kids of all ages to make new friends, build relationships, and achieve new skills that will help them have a better and easier time in life. It's not all about the fundraising and parties, which is why 'Troop Beverly Hills' still holds up today and has a lot of heart.
This 1989 film showed us that a group of very privileged and wealthy young girls who have never had to work a day in their lives and who spend most of their time shopping for the newest outfit at the mall, come together and learn the true values and ethics of life, like loyalty, friendship, and helping others. In fact, 'Troop Beverly Hills' was based on a true story. I bet you didn't know that.
Producer and co-writer Ava Ostern Fries had led a Girl Scout troop in Beverly Hills and was the inspiration for this film, which had a gold-digging, unappreciative wife named Phyllis Nefler (Shelley Long), who took up being a Wilderness Girl Scout leader for a troop in Beverly Hills, where she too had to overcome roughing it in the wilderness and help shape these young minds, while dealing with a hard-nosed, angry, and bitter co-leader. With this 'fish-out-of-water' storyline, the laughs and charm come in full.
Phyllis Nefler (Long) is on the verge of divorce from her wealthy and successful husband Freddy (Craig T. Nelson) and their daughter Hannah (Jenny Lewis) is caught in the middle of it. Phyllis can only do one thing, which is shop with her husband's money, but she flips the table and proves that she can lead a troop of young teenage girls to learn and enjoy the more normal things in life, such as things without caviar and a $10,000 price tag. From selling cookies, planning local events, camping, and attending to annual wilderness hike, there is nothing that Phyllis and her Beverly Hills troop can't do.
Director Jeff Kanew ('Revenge of the Nerds') doesn't change the game as far as new comedic stylings or adventure, but he does take a genuine approach with each character, giving every girl their own unique moment to shine. Shelley Long is perfect in this role as the money-grubbing wife who learns to be a better person to herself and to her daughter, while keeping things light-hearted and very humorous. And Betty Thomas as the evil Velda delivers each jab and put down with such comedic ferocity, that you can't help but laugh and hate her all at the same time.
Even though 'Troop Beverly Hills' might be a tiny bit outdated with all the new technology that is out today, but with it's timeless charm, amazing characters, and great life-lessons, this film is sure to stick around for another thirty years.
'Troop Beverly Hills' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. In fact, this Blu-ray was mastered in 4K, so you'll be able to see every stitch in Phyllis Nefler's altered Wilderness Girl outfit. This new image looks amazing. Everything comes across clearer and more vivid, which is a real treat, considering the beautiful city of Los Angeles and some of the wilderness are shown here. The detail is very sharp, which reveals wrinkles, makeup blemishes, fine costume stitching, and every ounce of the wild surroundings very nicely, such as leaves, tree bark, and tall grass. Even the wider shots show off a great deal of detail, which gives this movie a lot of visual depth.
There is also a very fine and nice layer of grain that lies over this image, which keeps this excellent and fun film in its natural and filmic state. The colors all pop off screen, especially the greens, browns, and yellows. The purple car in the film stands out nicely too, as each color is well balanced and saturated. Skin tones look natural and the black levels are deep and inky for the most part, however there are times where they seem to crush a bit to hard. Besides that and a few instances of debris over the film, this image looks quite good, earning it solid marks.
This release comes with a good lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix that does its job well. I wouldn't expect a heavy action movie type of sound mix here, because it isn't that type of film. Instead, we have a full and entertaining sound track with full sound effects and dialogue. The sound effects all sound natural and robust with some great directionality. However, the one scene where a thunderstorm hits a campsite doesn't pack the punch like it should and sounds a little muffled, but luckily it doesn't last long.
Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow and free of any pops, cracks, and hiss. The voices are layered and sound great. The real spotlight here is with the music and score of the film, which always comes in full and loud. This audio mix won't rock anyone out of their seats nor does it have a lot of bass that rumbles, but for being a teenage comedy set in Beverly Hills, it gets the job done.
Shelley Long Remembers 'Troop Beverly Hills' (HD, 15 Mins.) - A fun interview with Shelley Long in present day where she discusses making the movie. She talks about working with all the young kids, how the Girl Scouts weren't happy with the film, getting the script for the first time, and the fun table read. She also gives us a few fun stories from working on set.
The Real Phyllis Nefler: Ava Ostern Fries (HD, 10 Mins.) - Who knew that 'Troop Beverly Hills' was based on a true story? Well it was, and this lady named Ava and her story was the inspiration for Phyllis Nefler and her girl scout troop in Beverly Hills. Ava was a producer of the film and helped writer the screenplay and she discusses the story, the final product, and all the actor's performances.
Deleted Scenes (SD, 9 Mins.) - There are 10 deleted scenes in total, all of which are less than a minute each. Nothing really adds to the story itself, and was probably cut out for timing and pacing.
Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
'Troop Beverly Hills' still offers the same magic and comedy that has since 1989. And to this day, it holds up with many laughs and a good message to the young teenage girls who are trying to find who they are. The video and audio presentations are both excellent and the couple of extras are worth watching, although it would have been nice to see all the Wilderness Girls "now", discussing the film in a reunion type setting. Still, 'Troop Beverly Hills' comes highly recommended for the old and new generations to enjoy.