Married couple Judge Reinhold and Julia Sweeney host the unkempt Saint Bernard in this fourth go-round of the canine comedy franchise. The pair and their two children are dog-sitting in their pleasant suburban home--made predictably less pleasant by their toilet-water-slurping, steak-stealing guest. Meanwhile, across town, a rich couple and their lonely daughter have their own problems when their identical-looking Saint Bernard, Michelangelo, is kidnapped by their double-crossing butler.
Of course, the switch is inevitable in this Prince and the Pauper with dogs, landing the meat-crazed Beethoven in the vegetarian dog's silk-sheeted bed and vice versa. Many drool jokes later, the dogs return to their rightful homes, the rich couple learns to cavort, and Reinhold and Sweeney learn to love Beethoven's uncouthness. You expected a different ending? This 90-minute sequel provides inoffensive and mildly amusing entertainment for ages 4 to about 12. --Kimberly Heinrichs
The Newton family is trying valiantly to manage life with the larger-than-life Beethoven, while Richard (Judge Reinhold) has become a work-at-home Dad and Beth (Julia Sweeney) heads back to the office. Richard's work and Beth's new work wardrobe are toast in the presence of the giant paws and non-stop drool of the well-meaning but destructively demonstrative Beethoven, and the kids (Joe Pichler and Michaela Gallo) desperately try to save the day with obedience training. The results are disastrous at first, but seem to miraculously take hold when a mix-up at the park switches Beethoven with his dead-ringer Michelangelo, an overly well-bred show dog from the upwardly-repressed Sedgewick family manor. Chandelier-rattling chaos at the Sedgewick's and a strangely unwelcome quiet at the Newton's create huge problems that only the big-hearted St. Bernhard can lick.