Troop Beverly Hills
Troop Beverly Hills is a 1989 American adventure comedy film. Produced by the Weintraub Entertainment Group and directed by Jeff Kanew, starring Shelley Long, Craig T. Nelson, Betty Thomas, Mary Gross, Stephanie Beacham and introducing Jenny Lewis as Hannah Nefler. The film also features a host of young stars including Tori Spelling, Carla Gugino, Emily Schulman, Ami Foster, and Kellie Martin.
|Troop Beverly Hills|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jeff Kanew|
|Produced by||Ava Ostern Fries|
|Screenplay by||Pamela Norris|
Margaret Grieco Oberman
|Story by||Ava Ostern Fries|
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Cinematography||Donald E. Thorin|
|Edited by||Mark Melnick|
Weintraub Entertainment Group
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Phyllis Nefler is a socialite Beverly Hills wife recently separated from her husband, Freddy, a wealthy owner of an auto shop chain. In an attempt to maintain the relationship with her daughter Hannah during the contentious divorce, Phyllis becomes the new den mother of Hannah's unruly, leaderless local girl scout troop of Wilderness Girls.
Although Phyllis lacks the skills found in most troop leaders, due to a lack of interest in anything found in the 'wilderness', she resolves to teach the girls how to survive in "the wilds of Beverly Hills," even customizing new merit badges for her troop. One campout results in the troop getting caught in a rain squall, prompting Phyllis to take the girls to 'camp out' at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Despite her unorthodox ways, Phyllis demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the girls' well-being and ends up becoming a surrogate mother to the rest of the girls in Hannah's acts as a surrogate mother/friend to the girls.
Phyllis' unorthodox methods run afoul of another scout leader, Velda Plendor, a mean-spirited, retired army nurse who runs the Culver City "Red Feathers" in which her own daughter, Cleo, is a member. Because Velda has considerable pull at the regional council level, she declares Phyllis' customized merit badges ineligible and sends her assistant troop leader, Annie Herman, to infiltrate Troop Beverly Hills and sabotage them.
Troop Beverly Hills can gain recognition from the regional council by passing a series of tests at an upcoming Jamboree. In order to qualify, the troop needs to sell 1,000 boxes of cookies. To prevent this, Velda one-ups Troop Beverly Hills by selling cookies in their own neighborhood. Seeing this, Annie sides with Phyllis and offers her abilities and insider knowledge to the girls. Their star-studded sales drive sells more than 4,000 boxes, way more than enough to qualify for the Jamboree.
Phyllis learns that Freddy wants to proceed with the divorce, including seeking joint custody of Hannah. Velda meanly tries to talk her out of attending the Jamboree, warning that it is 100 miles from the nearest 4-star hotel. She sinks into a deep depression and decides to disband the troop, but Hannah and the other girls talk her out of it.
During the Jamboree, the Red Feathers trick Troop Beverly Hills during competition by misdirecting them into a snake-infested swamp. In a stroke of good luck, a skunk scares them into running through a shortcut, making them first in the qualifying event. When Velda cheats again by going into a restricted area used only for hunting, she breaks her ankle after falling into a hole. The Red Feathers, led now by Velda's daughter Cleo, leave her behind for the sake of winning. Troop Beverly Hills finds her and reluctantly carries her to the finish line after Phyllis reminds the girls that they have to be considerate to those in need, even if they happen to be adversaries.
Though the Red Feathers cross the finish line first, they're disqualified because council law stipulates the leader must be with the troop. Troop Beverly Hills is declared the winners of the Jamboree and are validated as Wilderness Girls. Francis Temple, the regional leader, fires Velda for cheating and for putting the Troop Beverly Hills girls in jeopardy. Freddy, intrigued by Phyllis's complete turnaround, is interested in calling off the divorce. After working through their issues with one another, they get back together.
The next year, Troop Beverly Hills is the designated Poster Troop and Velda is forced to take a humiliating job at Kmart.
- Shelley Long as Phyllis Nefler, a Beverly Hills socialite and new leader of Wilderness Girls Troop Beverly Hills.
- Craig T. Nelson as Freddy Nefler, Phyllis' entrepreneur husband and Hannah's father.
- Betty Thomas as Velda Plendor, the ruthless leader of a rival troop who despises Phyllis and her troop's Beverly Hills-attitude. She is the main antagonist of the group and wants to get rid of Troop Beverly Hills.
- Mary Gross as Annie Herman, Velda's assistant and spy, and later Phyllis' assistant.
- Karen Kopins as Lisa, Freddy Nefler's new fiancé.
- Jenny Lewis as Hannah Nefler, Phyllis and Freddy's daughter who just wants her mother to lead like a normal troop leader. She's also a skilled gymnast.
- Emily Schulman as Tiffany Honigman, the daughter of a prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.
- Carla Gugino as Chica Barnfell, a stern girl who's generally left alone by her jet-setting parents.
- Aquilina Soriano as Lily Marcigan, the daughter of Dictator Bong Bong and Karina (based on Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos respectively) who rule an unspecified Southeast Asian country.
- Kellie Martin as Emily Coleman, the daughter of an unemployed actor.
- Tasha Scott as Jasmine Shakar, the outspoken daughter of a well-known boxer.
- Heather Hopper as Tessa DiBlasio, the daughter of two well-known movie directors.
- Ami Foster as Claire Sprantz, a child actress/daughter of a romance novelist and a successful lawyer.
- Audra Lindley as Frances Temple, the head leader of Los Angeles County Wilderness Girls who is often undermined by Velda.
- Stephanie Beacham as Vicki Sprantz, Claire's mother, romance novelist, and Phyllis' friend.
- Shelley Morrison as Rosa, Phyllis' maid who helps out with the troop.
- Dinah Lacey as Cleo Plendor, Velda's daughter. The two don't have much of a mother/daughter-relationship, pretty much just an army superior/soldier-one.
- Tori Spelling as Jamie, Cleo's friend who helps sabotage Troop Beverly Hills.
- Willie Garson as Bruce
- Mary Pat Gleason as Kindly Troop Leader
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as Himself
- Frankie Avalon as Himself
- Dr. Joyce Brothers as Herself
- Annette Funicello as Herself
- Robin Leach as Himself
- Cheech Marin as Himself
- Ted McGinley as Himself
- Pia Zadora as Herself
Troop Beverly Hills was poorly received by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a rating of 8% based on 13 reviews. However, in recent years it has become a cult classic for a subtle feminist message and being unapologetically 80s.