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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> October 1998 >> Slums of Beverly Hills

Slums of Beverly Hills

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Dates on Record:
October 1998, August 1999
IMDB Name:
Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
Tamara Jenkins
MPAA Rating:
R for strong sexual situations, nudity, language and drug content.

Rite of Passage

Rite of passage movies may have been around forever, but I don't know if I've ever seen one as good as Slums of Beverly Hills. The cast is superb and rises to the level of the material. Natasha Lyonne's Vivian has settled unwillingly into the routine of moving every few months to maintain a good zip while her family skips out on rent. Her sudden need to deal with sexual issues, brought on by a growth spurt of sorts, is the heart of the movie.

Vivian is hardly the only member of her family with adjusting to do. Alan Arkin is her aging father whose kids keep him feeling young as he enters senior citizenship. Marisa Tomei is the cousin who doesn't respond well to detox or rejection. I could detail everyone else in the cast, but I won't do them justice. Everybody is seamless.


Rolfe Kent did the original music for Slums, and as usual, his mood-setting capabilities are excellent. He picked a banjo as the centerpiece, it fits. The opening melody imparts some bemusement while still maintaining some novelty, much like the movie.

DVD Comments

Slums is a fairly simple disc, containing the movie in widescreen, cast bios, and the trailer. The trailer is billed as theatrical, but isn't widescreen. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish. The case claims English-language audio in 5.1 and French, but my player only reports English 2.0. That's a strange case of false advertising. The menus for the cast bios are very confusing. The cursor directions used to move from one actor to another are often misleading. I found myself jumping between different menu screens just trying to get a particular actor that was on the same page!

See the IMDB information on Slums of Beverly Hills's DVD.

Other Opinions

Copyright 1998-2002 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.