”Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed…”. Yes we all know that familiar strain. Now…The Beverly Hillbillies is the movie adaptation of the popular television show. I was never a fan of the original show, but I can see its charm. And I’m not a fan of the movie, which doesn’t have much charm. Penelope Spheeris directs, and the deft comic touch seen in Wayne’s World is not evident here. There are only so many “fish out of water” jokes one can take in 90 minutes. When there are four writers…credited with the screenplay that’s a sure sign a movie’s in trouble. This movie adaptation is a little on the slow and clunky side and the jokes can be seen from a mile away.
The cast, however, is the saving grace. Jim Varney shows some nice restraint as the patriarch of this clan, Oscar winner Cloris Leachman is the perfect Granny, and Lily Tomlin turns in a fine quirky performance. These good characterizations are like bubblin’ crude, but the movie just lies inert.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound here is nothing to write down home about. Dialogue and sound are clear. There are many visual gags, complete with sound effects, and they come through nicely. There’s also a musical number with Dolly Parton, if that means anything. It sounds fine.
Presented in 1:33:1 full screen or 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Won’t really make a difference. The director’s vision won’t be hampered if you watch in full screen. The Beverly Hillbillies won’t be known for its stunning visual canvas. The transfer itself looks adequate enough. The colors are natural and the blacks don’t pose a problem. The only problem seems to be the intermittent speckling. The transfer is just above average.
Just a few trailers.
The movie might make fans happy. It keeps to the spirit of the show, which is essentially farcical in nature. Hillbillies even tries to have a sweet center at the heart of this black gold. Unfortunately, this adaptation is joke set-up after set-up. Some work, but most of them don’t. At least they could’ve had the original theme song. Instead, an uninspired retread is in its place. Sounds like the movie itself. “Y’all come back now, ya hear? Not likely.
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