review for Down and Out in Beverly Hills on AllMovie

Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)
by Michael Costello review

Renoir's Boudu Saved From Drowning is the ostensible source of Paul Mazursky's hilarious satire of Beverly Hills affluence, but it seems much more like a comic version of Pasolini's Teorema. The story centers on Jerry (Nick Nolte), a homeless man who is prevented from drowning himself in a Beverly Hills swimming pool by its owner, Dave Richard Dreyfuss. Dave takes in the stranger, and it soon appears that Jerry is the answer to every family member's prayers. Mazursky's dissection of upper-crust anomie is surprisingly good-natured, suggesting that those in its grip are far worse off than a bum. Nolte's bewilderment at his hosts' embrace is quickly replaced by an instinctive sense of exactly how he fits into their lives, but Dreyfuss steals the movie as a man whose boredom with his lucrative business makes him comically grateful for this new diversion. Bette Midler also has an amusing turn as a shopper of world-class talents.