on April 29, 2004
It's interesting to compare this film with "The Brady Bunch Movie", another big-screen adaptation of a ubiquitous old TV sitcom that appeared in theaters a year or two earlier.
Both movies take a postmodern approach, self-consciously referencing the period origins of the source material. But whereas "Brady" used this to a comically dichotomous effect (placing the literally-stuck-in-the-'70s clan inside a dysfunctional '90s Los Angeles), "Beaver" attempts a synthesis in which '50s cultural mores and aesthetic values still hold sway in the present day. Thus, we're treated on the one hand to such contemporary accoutrements as home PCs, cell phones, and flat-screen televisions--at one point Ward and a miniskirted(?!) June are seen watching a "Home Improvement" episode--and on the other hand to such iconic '50s paraphernalia as white picket fences, soda shops, pigtailed little girls, teenage guys in letterman sweaters, and women in ever-present pearls and high heels.
While the overall tone of this film is sweetly nostalgic rather than abrasively ironic a la the "Brady" movie, one can't help feeling that at some level we're being winked at; viewed in a certain light, this "Beaver" could almost be taken as a sly satire of Republican family values posturing and '50s fetishism. There's a decidedly Stepfordian quality to much of the film, particularly in Janine Turner's portrayal of June. On the other hand, it's difficult to imagine a "straight" update of the show that wouldn't in some way have sacrificed either plausibility or the spirit of the original.
Nonetheless, on a less critical level this movie works as serviceable family entertainment. Parents, especially those put off by the aforementioned "Brady Bunch" film, will be relieved at "Beaver"'s gentle, kid-friendly quality; and fans of the original will delight in some well-placed cameo appearances.
on December 13, 2002
Well, June, you should be worried. Once again, a bunch of Hollywood quick-buck artists have succeeded in producing a dreadful film supposedly based upon a classic sitcom. This sad little piece of junk has no redeeming qualities, as the cast, script, and direction are all equally atrocious. The persons who produced this sorry mess should be profoundly embarrassed and ashamed, but they are probably as lacking in shame as they are in talent.
"Hey, Wally, who do you think did this to me? Do ya think it mighta been Eddie or Lumpy?" "Naw, Beav, Eddie's a wise guy, but he's not that mean, and Lumpy's pretty dumb, but even he's not stupid enough to have done this; I guess somebody's out to get ya." "I don't know, Wally; it's kinda scary. Larry Mondello could have done better than this." "Yeah, Beav, somebody sure gave ya the business this time."
Yes, Andy Cadiff and his accomplices gave us all the business when they turned out this garbage; there is simply no excuse for a film this bad. Watch the re-runs on TV, and skip this disaster.
on November 14, 2002
The cynics of this world will never understand this movie, as it presents reality through the eyes of one who is innocent and without guile of any sort. In short, it is a world seen throught the innocent eyes of "The Beav". There are no killings, there is no swearing, and people in the movie represent virtues that seem alien and foreign in today's society. (Stepping off soapbox...)
The movie is thoroughly entertaining and heart warming. The depiction of the Cleaver family is truly a study in the values of simple people trying to cope with the everyday problems of doing the right thing, and adapting to situations which require the ultimate sacrafice...their own ambitions and agenda for their love of each other. The director has done a great job in preventing the movie from being campy. He skirts this invisible line in the sand a few times, but pulls back just in time to maintain real innocense
Cameos by some of the former stars of the original television series make their re-debut in the film, which is great.
The portrayal of Beaver and Wally by the actors is fantastic. There genuinely seems to be a strong rapport between these two movie brothers and this comes through on the screen. The other characters in the movie are well casted. You'll see the "new" Eddie Haskel (the original Eddie is this movies' Eddie's father), the new Gilbert, Larry, and Fred Rutherford among others. Each one doesn't try to overplay their part, but they all give a nice rendition of the original members of the television show.
The music scoring is wonderful as well. Some of the passages are slightly overdone, but never intruding. The composer has really done a great job in fitting the mood of the movie with music that moving and warm. The score is very strong and adds quite a bit to the feeling of the movie.
The movie moves along quite well, and gives you the gist of what the original television series was about without being too much of a clone. There are a few twists here and there to make you smile.
The movie is quite a departure from your standard fair of violence and "reality" based television and film. If you are able to pull down the strongholds of cynicism, you will enjoy this movie. This is a wonderful film and a diamond in the rough. It serves as a reminder to by-gone days where simple values were the norm and not the exception. Loyalty, love, family unity, honesty, sucess, and determination...walk into the past and go back to a time and place where things are so different that you'll swear that you've entered another dimension...a dimension of of space and time...A place called Mayfield, USA. (Apologies to Rod Serling)
on July 10, 2004
Leave it to Beaver. I think everyone has seen that television show at least once, and I know that I, for one, loved it... even though it was completely unrealistic. But who cares? It was a cute little show.
The movie is the exact same way; don't expect something COMPLETELY lifelike... but DO expect something a bit different from the original show. The Cleavers have been updated... and I think my favorite part was when Mrs. Cleaver told Eddie Haskill off... that was great.
The characters have a great performance, too... Adam Zolotin was a great Eddie Haskill, and Christopher McDonald was the perfect Ward.
And watch out for cameo appearances from a couple of the original stars of the series. Those were great to see.
All in all, if you want to see a movie that makes you think, don't get it. It isn't that kind of a thing... but for a family movie, I don't think that there's a better one.
on July 30, 2003
This was a crumby remake of a bona fide classic television show, and might be considered okay if you never saw the real thing. For old Beaver fans, though, the film had its (rare) moments. Christopher McDonald's portrayal of Ward Cleaver was very close, and he truly shone a couple of times when expressing irritation -- he captured the exact tone we used to hear from Hugh Beaumont, when his "Ward" was upset or angry. The effect, though brief, was hilarious.
And we realize from this film that Ken Osmond's "Eddie Haskell" was a superstar of a television character, an unforgettable icon of teenage obnoxiousness -- and no one in the universe could ever portray Eddie with the same gusto, spirit and benign teen sleaze as Ken Osmond did.
It's time for the old Beaver episodes to be put on DVD, so new generations can enjoy them.
on May 2, 2002
When studios persist in cranking out films supposedly based upon classic sitcoms, it seems to signal a lack of original ideas, and that certainly appears to be the case here. There is nothing about this film which conveys any of the charm or humor of the original series. The cast is inept, the script is lame, and Andy Cadiff's direction is abysmal. The people who make these films don't seem to realize that taking the title of a good sitcom and appending it to a lousy film like this simply doesn't work. The original series may have been a bit corny at times, but the worst episode of the sitcom is vastly superior to this mess. In other words, the people behind this horrid little film are just giving you the business, Sam. Enjoy the reruns of the series on TV, and skip this clunker. Gee, Wally, this movie really stinks!
on October 4, 2001
If you are wondering why I am giving this movie 4 stars, is the characters in this movie, for example, in the movie Eddie Haskell is shorter than he was in the tv show, Theodore Cleaver Aka Beaver's friend Gilbert is white in the tv show but is black in the movie, and more.
As the movie opens, Beaver (Cameron Finley) wants a bike. And his brother Wally Cleaver's (Erik Von Detten) best friend Eddie Haskell (Adam Zolotin) tells him to to something to make his old man proud. Like play football and his dad will buy him the bike and then quit the team after he has it. Beaver does to that. And when Ward Cleaver (Christopher McDonald) gets home, Beaver helps him and Ward thinks Beaver has done something wrong, all Beaver wants is his father's hands free to sign his permisson slip to play football.
on April 7, 2001
I loved this movie. I can watch it over and over again and not get bored of it. It's so funny and entertaining that how could anyone not like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. It's one of the most cutest movies you'll ever see and based on an old TV show. Erik von Detten is the best (he's so hot!) as Wally Cleaver, Beav's perfect older brother. And the rest of the cast is great, too. I also love Eddie Haskells, who's a cleaver troublemaker. The kid who plays Beav is pretty adorable, too. A cut-clean movie about one perfect family and a son that causes so much trouble he doesn't seem to fit in the family. LEAVE IT TO BEAVER is one adoreable and excellent film with excellent acting from the cast that can be seen over and over again. You won't want to miss this!
on March 24, 2004
Well, I definitely liked this movie! I know many of the reviews on this page seem to think it was terrible, and perhaps if I had grown up with the TV show, I would agree. However, I didn't, and so I don't! I really enjoyed this movie. I thought it was just a fun, heartwarming movie that will make anyone laugh, if only a little bit. At the end of watching this movie, I was happy. That's all I can say. I didn't try comparing it to the TV show, I just decided to watch a movie, and I have no regrets. It was fun, and it would always be what I would recommend to relieve some stress at the end of a long day.
on May 13, 2000
This movie is genuine family entertainment, and it is so hilarious it will crack up kids and adults alike. This movie has laughs for everyone, like Beaver's adorable smart-alecky remarks (i.e "Oh no mom, I'm not supposed to be sucking up to YOU." or "Thanks anyway Judy, but I'd rather go through 3rd Grade 100 times than listen to your nagging voice for one minute."). And the casting could not have been better. So, in short, you must see this movie. It's a movie that will make you laugh, cry, and laugh some more.