Reviewed by: Peter Wright
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.