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"LEAVE IT TO BEAVER"
(1997) (Cameron Finley, Christopher McDonald) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None None Mild Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Minor Mild Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Children's: This big screen version of the 1950's sitcom tells the story of a boy who tries to fit in with his perfect family and neighborhood.
PLOT:
In Mayfield, Ohio lives a "perfect" family, the Cleavers. Ward Cleaver (CHRISTOPHER MCDONALD) is a successful businessman, wife June (JANINE TURNER) is the perfect, always smiling mom, oldest son Wally (ERIK VON DETTEN) is a model teenager, and younger son Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (CAMERON FINLEY) is, well, he tries to fit in with the rest of the perfection surrounding him. When he can't do that, he must cover his bases with a series of lies to try to please his parents. One of them includes joining the peewee football team to impress his dad so that he'll give Beaver a new bike that ends up being stolen, thus requiring another lie. Along the way he must deal with Wally and his friend Eddie Haskell (ADAM ZOLOTIN) as they enter the pangs of puberty and being attracted to the opposite sex. As Beaver tries to get his bike back, he does everything he can to keep his parents happy.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
More than likely not. Most of today's kids won't even know about the original TV show and will probably have little or no interest in seeing this big screen adaption.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For mild language and some elements of sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • CAMERON FINLEY plays a boy who tries to do the right things to make his parents happy and when he can't, tells several lies to do so, including one to manipulate them into buying him a bike.
  • ERIK VON DETTEN plays the older brother whose worst action is playing spin the bottle at a coed party.
  • CHRISTOPHER MCDONALD plays the father who's always looking for perfection in his boys and occasionally loses his cool when they aren't that way.
  • ADAM ZOLOTIN plays the conniving friend of Wally's who has just a bit of a troublemaker inside him, but nothing that's too bad.
  • JANINE TURNER plays the perfect, all-American suburban mom.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    Mining old TV shows and turning them into big screen movies has become quite the popular pastime in Hollywood in the past decade. While some have been successful ("The Addams Family," "The Brady Bunch,"), others have not ("McHale's Navy"). Although this isn't a horrible film by any means, it certainly looks like it's going to join the latter group. Based on the sitcom that ran from 1957 to 1963, this adaption seems an odd choice since the original never stood out for much more than its suburban blandness. That characteristic is easily adopted into this version as it plays out more like an elongated, and often old-fashioned TV sitcom. Simply updating the times, the film makers decided not to go the route that the "Brady Bunch" movies did. In those, the often ridiculous scenarios and acting were prime candidates for spoofing and it would have been fun to see that applied here. Instead, we get more of an homage to the original with just a few updated references and minor bits of sexual innuendo to distinguish this from its small screen relative. It's questionable how many kids will want to see this as they obviously won't remember the original, and this version doesn't have the slapstick appeal of the "Home Alone" movies to draw them in. Some nostalgic baby-boomers might want to see this for old- times sakes, but will probably be rather bored with the lackluster plot and flat acting. Little Cameron Finley is engaging as The Beaver and I personally found him more enjoyable to watch than Jerry Mathers' take in the TV show that often came across as more irritating than funny. Of course the film has to have the obligatory cameos from a few of the former actors, in this case Ken Osmond (the original Eddie Haskel) and Barbara Billingsley (the original June Cleaver), but they add little other than a knowing nod from the over thirty-year-old's in the audience. Many will like this film since it contains very little "bad stuff," but that alone doesn't make for a good or engaging movie. While it's certainly not horrendous and actually comes across as a pleasant little film, there's not much here beyond that to make us recommend this feature. We give "Leave It To Beaver" a 4 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    This PG-rated film is as close to a G rating as most movies can get. There's some slapstick humor/pratfalls, but nowhere near as much as in the "Home Alone" movies. Some brief, very minor sexual comments are made, but for the most part are benign. There's a dose of mild bad attitudes and imitative behavior, but nothing that really stands out. That pretty much categorizes most of the film, and many parents will probably have no problem allowing their children to see this feature. Nonetheless, you know your children best, so you should examine the content to determine if this film is appropriate for them.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Eddie tells Beaver the way to get gifts from the parents is to "suck up" to their expectations, so in this case Beaver joins the football team though he has no intention of sticking with them after he gets his gift.
  • After someone comments on Beaver's nice bike, Beaver says he got it for "lying to my dad."
  • An older kid steals Beaver's bike.
  • Ward flies off the handle a little too quickly toward his sons after they don't meet his high expectations.
  • Eddie's father comments that women are "a bunch of bloodsuckers" and once they're done with you, they'll flush you like goldfish.
  • Eddie looks through Ward's personal finance software on his computer.
  • A male teen calls his "girlfriend" a "chick" in front of his friend.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Beaver climbs up on top of a building to look inside a huge coffee cup and at one point dangles from the structure several stories above the street.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You're a screw up," "Suck up," "Shut up," "Fart breath," "Sucks," "Screwing around," "Chick" (what a male teen calls a female teen), "Babe" (what Eddie calls Mrs. Cleaver), "Loser," and "Bloodsuckers."
  • Eddie tells Beaver the way to get gifts from the parents is to "suck up" to their expectations, so in this case Beaver joins the football team even though he has no intention of sticking with them after he gets his gift.
  • An older boy takes Beaver's bike and does many stunts on it (spinning it around, standing on the seat and handle bars, etc...) before stealing it.
  • Eddie and Beaver place a tape recorder in their backyard tent to make Ward and June think they're still in there while they're actually trailing Wally.
  • Beaver climbs up on top of a building to look inside a huge coffee cup and at one point dangles from the structure several stories above the street.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's just a minor, brief amount during one or two scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 crap and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • There's an incomplete "ass" in Wally's statement about doing his homework so that Ward "doesn't have to crawl up my..."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Eddie mentions that he was in a girl's bedroom the night before (he's making it up).
  • Watching a girl drinking through a straw, Eddie comments that he wishes that he were the straw.
  • Ward seductively tells his wife, "June, you're vacuuming in pearls. You know what that does to me." She replies, "Stick around. Later I'll slip into a pair of oven mitts." They then kiss and Wally tells them, "Geez, why don't the two of you get a room?"
  • Wally plays spin the bottle at a coed party and goes into a closet and kisses a girl, steaming up the window.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Beaver tries to please his father who occasionally gets mad when his sons don't meet his expectations.
  • A student briefly mention having her grandmother die during summer recess, and a boy briefly discusses his father having to move out, and then back into their house, but sleeping in the boy's room.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Pleasing one's parents and dealing with their expectations.
  • Lying to parents to get gifts from them.
  • Accepting dares (Beaver climbs up on top a building after some older boys see if he'll do it).
  • VIOLENCE
  • There are several slapstick bits where people slip and fall or fly through the air (Eddie runs into a pole, the boys slip and fall to the ground, etc...), but no one's hurt during any of these.
  • Wally shoves Beaver to their stairs (indoor) and then pushes him back down with his foot after getting in trouble because of his younger brother.
  • Wally and Beaver fight in their bedroom, with most of it just wrestling.



  • Reviewed August 22, 1997

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