Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)

It’s a bit of a shame that director Tamara Jenkins’s feature length inexperience shows throughout this movie, because at its heart, there’s a great little comedy-drama about the bond among even the most troubled family. There are many effective jokes that are undercut by awkward framing or overzealous editing, which has a tendency to distract from the main story. As it is, Natasha Lyonne is perfectly cast and manages to make the entire movie worth watching, and she shares great chemistry with both Alan Arkin and an endearing Marisa Tomei. Lyonne is blessed with an expressive face and can communicate a variety of emotions at once without changing expression, and it’s easy to see why this became a breakthrough performance for the wonderfully talented actress.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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