Hugo Pool

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Hugo Pool
Hugo Pool film poster
Hugo Pool film poster
Directed byRobert Downey Sr.
Written by
  • Robert Downey Sr.
  • Laura Downey
Produced byBarbara Ligeti
CinematographyJoseph Montgomery
Edited byJoe D'Augustine
Music byDanilo Pérez
  • BMG Independents
  • Nomadic Pictures
Distributed byNorthern Arts Entertainment
Release date
December 12, 1997 (1997-12-12)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$13,330[1]

Hugo Pool (also known as Pool Girl in the UK[2]) is a 1997 American comedy drama film, directed by Robert Downey Sr., starring Alyssa Milano and Patrick Dempsey.


Hugo Dugay runs a small company, Hugo Pool, that cleans swimming pools in Los Angeles. The film covers one day in her life, during which she must clean many pools in the midst of a drought that interferes with her usual water supply. In addition to dealing with several eccentric customers, including mobster Chick Chicalini and filmmaker Franz Mazur, Hugo must care for her needy parents Minerva and Henry. Also, Hugo may be falling in love with Floyd Gaylen, a customer of hers who has ALS.



The film was written by Robert Downey Sr. and his wife Laura, who died of ALS.[3][4] During the shooting of the film, Robert Downey Jr. was in the midst of a serious drug addiction. He was described as "thin, pale and sickly" and would deliver his lines in bursts of manic energy.[5]


In a review for The Village Voice, Elizabeth Weitzman criticized many of the performances, with the exceptions of Dempsey, for giving an understated performance, Downey Jr., "whose talents cannot be destroyed no matter what horrors he puts them through," and Milano, "whose natural performance appears to have been cut and pasted from another (better) movie," though she "can't turn around without the camera lewdly ogling her."[4] A Variety review states, "the movie seldom achieves the quirky, zany rhythm it strives for"; Hugo Pool is "a comedy that should have been messier and more outrageous." Like The Village Voice, Variety praises the performances of Dempsey, Milano and Downey Jr. above other cast members. The review notes the film's visual accomplishments and production, stating, "Production values are first-rate, including Joe Montgomery's radiant lensing, Lauren Gabor's colorful production design, Danilo Perez's vibrant music and Joe D'Augustine's crisp editing.[3]

A January 1998 San Francisco Chronicle article included it on a list of the best films of 1997, which was based on the ratings of 40 major critics.[6]

In a 2014 interview, Downey Sr. stated that Hugo Pool is "one of my films that I’m not so happy with."[7]


  1. ^ "Hugo Pool". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Pool Girl". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  3. ^ a b Levy, Emanuel (February 15, 1997). "Hugo Pool". Variety. p. 66.
  4. ^ a b Weitzman, Elizabeth (December 16, 1997). "Hugo Pool review". The Village Voice. Vol. 42, no. 50. p. 78.
  5. ^ Watson, Stephanie (2012). Robert Downey Jr.: Blockbuster Movie Star. ABDO. pp. 57. ISBN 978-1-61783-322-9. 1997 movie hugo pool.
  6. ^ "A Critical Consensus - The Best Films of 1997". San Francisco Chronicle. 1998-01-04. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  7. ^ Aftab, Kaleem (December 8, 2014). "Six Decades of Robert Downey Sr". Interview Magazine. Retrieved December 19, 2021.

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