Best on Netflix Watch Instantly: “Beverly Hills Cop”
By Kevin Cook
The 1984 all-time comedy classic, “Beverly Hills Cop,” is the crown jewel of Eddie Murphy’s long and varied career. “Beverly Hills Cop” showcases Murphy at his absolute pinnacle, long before
fathering children dulled his penchant for on-camera swearing and in-film strip club visits.
Murphy, as Axel Foley, a jaded Detroit detective visiting Beverly Hills to investigate a friend’s murder and also gleefully ruffle feathers and lampoon the self-important snobbery of the locals, at this point still possesses every bit of the prodigious wit, energy and talent of his Raw days, which can at first be a shock to anyone more familiar with the post-“Dr. Dolittle” span of his career.
Murphy’s jaunty, roguish performance of Foley is less edgy, less outrageously incendiary and more charming than Murphy’s performance of himself in “Raw” and is a one reason why I think “Beverly Hills Cop” is the better film, even if it isn’t more important in the schema of comedic history.
Murphy’s every third or fourth line is funny, memorable and quotable. His code-switching routine, a ruse devised to get him into the swanky clubhouse where the bad guy is dining, is just as amusing and impressive on the third or fourth viewing.
Judge Reinhold, before the “Beethoven” and “Santa Clause” franchises bought and devoured his soul, is well-cast as greenhorn Beverly Hills cop Billy Rosewood and is more polished and older than his other most notable credit, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
“Beverly Hills Cop” is one of those rare movies that seems able to be all things to all people, pleasing both critics and mainstream moviegoers. It was the biggest box-office success of the year and received a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture and an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing — Original Screenplay. Despite being firmly rooted in the 1980s zeitgeist, the movie has aged well. None of the action relies on effects’ wizardry and the movie’s considerable value mostly lies in Murphy’s cadence and shtick. It’s as good and fun a movie as there is, and if you haven’t seen it, I heartily recommend it.