Beverly Hills Family Robinson (1998)
Directed by Troy Miller

Artistic Value & Entertainment Value
* *

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Marsha Robinson (Dyan Cannon), the obnoxious host of a cooking and decorating show, is shipwrecked with her family on an island in the South Pacific, where she must come to terms with her situation, mend her relationship with her family, and fight against a group of pirates.

Troy Miller's Beverly Hills Family Robinson is an execrable film that really is best avoided. The attempts at humor are hackneyed. The characters are dull. The story is predictable, and the acting ranges from mediocre to below average.


I will admit, however, that while the actors' performances may not be inspired, they are never truly awful either. Dyan Cannon does manage to convey the annoying, arrogant qualities her character is intended to have. Sadly, in doing so, she is more likely to irritate the viewer than to amuse him. The other cast members, however, are just forgettable. Martin Mull is a likeable non-entity as Marsha's husband, and Sarah Michelle Geller, who wears a bikini in almost every scene in which she appears, contributes the presence of Sarah Michelle Geller in a bikini.

Such performances, unfortunately, are, perhaps, better than are any of the film's other elements. The story the director tells is particularly atrocious and is absolutely crammed full of a variety of ridiculous embarrassments. Once marooned, for example, the family builds an enormous tree-house provided with a variety of conveniences, including a drawbridge, a breakfast nook, a sprinkler system, and even electrical lighting and appliances powered by a water wheel made from bamboo, wine bottles, and shoes. Meanwhile, they overcome their differences, learn about one another's feelings, grow, and bond. When the pirates arrive to threaten their utopia, they defend themselves with a number of booby traps reminiscent of those employed in Home Alone. I cannot even begin to express how dreadful all of this is.


Beverly Hills Family Robinson is never interesting. Each phase of the film, the set-up, the ship wreck, the building of the island home, the bonding, the fight against the invading pirates, and the resolution, is absolutely predictable. The film is not even so bad that it is entertaining because of its faults. It is just dull.

Review by Keith Allen

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