Troop Beverly Hills is a movie made in 1989 by Fries Entertainment. It was directed by Jeff Kanew and written by Ava Ostern Fries (story) and Pamela Norris (screenplay). The movie was shot on location in Beverly Hills and San Bernardino National Forrest in California.
The movie stars Shelley Long as Phyllis Nefler, a Beverly Hills housewife on the verge of divorce with her husband Freddy, played by Craig T. Nelson. Phyllis is urged to find meaning in her life of shopping sprees and fashion shows and become more involved in her daughter’s life. Her daughter, Hannah, shows and interest in the Wilderness Girls, and Phyllis decides to become the troop leader.
Some of the most humorous moments in this movie come from the Troop Beverly Hills Wilderness Girls. The girls themselves are parodies of West Coast yuppie children, including Claire, a child star who sees the group as a chance at a “normal childhood,” Emily, the daughter of an out-of-work actor, and Tiffany, whose father must bribe to get to show up.
Since the girls are not the typical outdoorsy type, and neither is Phyllis, they invent their own badges rather than earning the typical Wilderness Girl badges. Phyllis awards the girls badges in things such as accessorizing and bargain shopping. Feeling that camping in the woods is dirty, she even takes them “camping” at a hotel (One bathroom for nine girls is roughing it!).
When the head honcho at the Wilderness Girls acknowledges what a deed Phyllis is doing by taking an active interest in the girls’ lives, district leader Velda Plendor, played by Betty Thomas, decides to take the troop down. Stating that the troop doesn’t participate in real Wilderness Girls activities, Velda makes every effort to get the troop disbanded.
When Velda’s troop challenges Troop Beverly Hills at cookie selling, and purposely tries sabotaging the Beverly Hills girls’ chance at winning by selling in their neighborhood, Phyllis takes charge to bring her girls together as a team. In the end, Phyllis realizes just what she is capable of accomplishing when the girls win the cookie selling competition. Her husband Freddy also sees the potential and success in her and leaves his much younger new girlfriend to reconcile.
A lot of humor in this movie comes from short exchanges between the characters, as well as the stereotypes placed on Beverly Hills and its materialistic residents. It’s cheesy in moments and filled with kiddy humor and mostly a guilty pleasure, but you have to admit, it’s a nice feel-good movie. It’s not spectacular by any means, but it’s worth seeing at least once.