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Movie Review

Leave it to Beaver

Reviewed by: Peter Wright

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
88 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Christopher McDonald, Janine Turner, Erik Von Detten, Cameron Finley, Adam Zolotin | Director: Andy Cadiff | Released by: Universal Pictures

Anyone who loved the original television show as a child, then the “new” “Leave it to Beaver” airing in the late eighties, will enjoy this movie. It is very well-acted and this story contains the same family themes that could be found in the original much-loved TV show.

Theodore Cleaver, the “Beaver,” is an eight-year old whose dream for a bike finds him playing football to impress his father and eventually get the bike. When the bike is stolen, Dad reminds Beaver about his rookie baseball card that washed down the drain, the gameboy that was run over by a car, and the fire in the garage. Basically, the Beaver seems to have a problem taking care of his things. Meanwhile, Wally, Beaver’s older brother, finds love in a girl that his best friend likes. When the girl-friend is stolen by an older, Brad Pitt wannabe, Wally slips into a depression and is often seen wearing the face that “the Hunchback had when Esmarelda left him for the more handsome guy.”

The performances of all the young actors and even the parents are incredible. They aren’t “over done” as the “Brady Bunch” movies were. Also, watch for a couple cameos: Barbara Billingsly (the original June Cleaver) plays Beaver’s Aunt, and the original Eddie Haskell from the television show plays Eddie’s father.

Things to watch for in the movie include a minor sexual innuendo scene (shown in the previews); a group of teenagers playing an innocent game of spin-the-bottle; and worried June Cleaver considering her 8-year-old son playing the “violent sport” of football. The scenes, however, aren’t very violent and won’t scare any kids. One particularly “scary” scene may emote some imitative behavior in some children when the Beaver climbs onto a large coffee cup over a coffee shop. Some children will need to be reminded, of course, “not to do it themselves.”

All in all, “Leave it to Beaver” is a film that the whole family will enjoy. This PG film couldn’t get any closer to a “G” rating. The absence of offensive language or other offensive materials is a thankful change from most movies today. Parents will remember the sitcom of the past and admire the characterizations, teens will laugh at Wally’s love attempts and failures, and young children will identify with the young star of the show.

Viewer Comments
Negative—…I was appalled when Eddie Haskell wished he was that pretty girl’s straw… and I was not happy with the spin-the-bottle scene where Wally and the pretty girl share a much-too-sensual kiss for a 12 year old. And no one mentioned the disrespectful comment Wally had for his parents when he caught them kissing—“Get a room!” Add the lies and the Beav dangerously climbing up the side of a building, I would have a hard time recommending this movie to any family with young children.
—Mary Lisa Piseczny, age 36
Positive—My 9 year old enjoyed it but more importantly enjoyed doing something with his dad. I felt the movie was overall good. The original series was special because the show character was natural and relaxed. Years of ridicule of that character caused this movie to seem less genuine and stilted. Hollywood seemed anxious to present a tongue in cheek point of view of the series' wholesomeness; complete with a closet of skeletons (school counselor scene).

However, it did illustrate some important parent/child communication points. Too bad Ward C. wasn’t a PK'er but this movie is clearly the edge of a boundary Hollywood is no longer willing to cross. Funny, that’s just what Christ did, “cross” a boundary.
—Craig, age 41
Positive—I took all my children to see this movie, and only one of my five boys and six girls did not like it. This is a wholesome movie in the spirit of “Dennis the Menace”, good for any Christian…
—Newmann Price Factor II, age 41
Positive—We thought the movie was charming—a true family film. The spin the bottle scene and the “lies” were actually wonderful discussion starters for our family. The spin the bottle game is innocent for most young children. During a summer of violent releases and their high appeal among young children, this movie was refreshing!!
—Carol Wright, age 43
Negative—What really ruined this movie for me was the casting. On the old TV show, Eddie Haskell was a TEENAGER, not pre-pubescent. Miss Landers looked like 1950’s Good Housekeeping magazine, not Courtney Cox. And, a boy and his bike… wasn’t that the plot of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? Terrible.
—Brian, age 24
I went to see the beav for myself today. It wasn’t a bad movie but not as good as some others from this summer were. The spin the bottle scene may be objectionable to some parents. Two of the kids come through it without kissing, while Wally and the girl the bottle picked for Wally didn’t come put that way. The kiss was in my mind is a little much for 12 year olds. I would also caution small chidren about climbing onto high places and talking to strangers before or/and after the movie. Otherwise it was OK.
—Jamie, age 23
Negative—Wait a second. I have heard a few reviews of this movie, and your review was much more positive than it should be on a a Christian review site. One major problem with the movie is the amount of times the Beav lies to his parents to get what he wants.

In one scene Beav and Eddie play a cassette tape in their tent to make the parents think they are there, but instead the boys are off galavanting. That, the sexual innuendo, and some objectionable language you may not want your kids to hear such as “sucks”, “screw”, and “crap” may make this Disney movie one to forget.
—Ryan Kelly