Leave It To Beaver

on August 22, 1997 by Pat Kramer
   For those baby boomers who grew up with TV's most beloved family, the Cleavers, you might be a little disappointed by this modern-day film, which models itself after the popular 1950s TV series "Leave It to Beaver." Today's children, however, will probably enjoy it for comedy's sake.    The premise for the film is that many of the vignettes created in the '50s TV series will still be funny today--with an updated cast of characters and cool contemporary lingo. Although the storyline by screenwriter Briant Levant (who directed episodes of TV's 1983-88 "The New Leave It to Beaver") and Lon Diamond seeks to preserve the integrity of the original, copies of an original never quite measure up to the real thing.    As Ward Cleaver, Christopher McDonald ("A Smile Like Yours") gies the strongest performance, closely resembling the role popularized by the late Hugh Beaumont. Likewise, Erik von Detten as the Beaver's brother is the perfect Wally that many remember. As mom June Cleaver, however, Janine Turner ("Cliffhanger") takes certain liberties with her role, adding character mannerisms familiar from her turn as Maggie on TV's "Northern Exposure," while Cameron Finley ("What's Eating Gilbert Grape") as the Beaver fails to emote much personality or screen appeal.    Cameos of original cast members Barbara Billingsley as Aunt Martha and Ken Osmond as Eddie Haskell Sr. lend a certain authenticity to the film. But the result seems watered-down and unsure of its identity. The filmmakers might have had better luck had they focused on creating a kids' movie without trying to duplicate the master. Starring Christopher McDonald, Janine Turner and Cameron Finley. Directed by Andy Cadiff. Written by Brian Levant and Lon Diamond. Produced by Robert Simonds. A Universal release. Rated G. Comedy. Running time: 87 min
Tags: Christopher McDonald, Janine Turner, Cameron Finley, Andy Cadiff, Brian Levant, Lon Diamond, Robert Simonds, A Universal release, comedy, mannerisms, authenticity, watered-down

read all Reviews »


No comments were posted.

What do you think?