"To Curry Dad’s Favor"
What You Need To Know:
Most of the appeal of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER derives from its thrust toward family bonding implicit in its premise: what can the son do to obtain his father’s love? Happily, in LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, Ward Cleaver learns how he can give unconditional love to his son, and it is a fortuitous lesson for all audiences everywhere. With high production values, appealing storyline, wholesome family interaction, and beautiful symphonic music based on the TV show melody, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER is an entertaining, fun movie the whole family will enjoy. This movie leaves the viewer feeling warm and cuddly as he or she exits the theater.
(B, C, Ro) Biblical worldview of a boy trying to curry favor with his father with redemptive & romantic elements; no obscenities; boy falls out of second story window & boy steals bike; 12-year-old boy kisses 12-year-old girl; no nudity; no alcohol; and, no drugs
Ah, the joy of wholesome nostalgic movies! In LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, thanks to their proclivity to stay with tried-and-true vehicles for success, Universal is producing a movie re-make of a popular 1957-1963 TV show about the Cleaver family which championed good family values. Between 1957 and 1963, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER ran for 234 consecutive episodes. Although it presented an idealized and perhaps unrealistic view of middle American families, it did capture their essential flavor and gave viewers an entertaining, humorous and pleasant TV experience. Regrettably, in certain sectors of 1990’s American culture, where dysfunctional families are in vogue, some disdain the Cleaver family as hopelessly backwards and Neanderthal.
In 1997’s, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER movie, Theodore (Beaver) Cleaver (played by Cameron Finley) is a short, sincere and slightly dull 8-year-old who looks up to his elder brother, Wally (played by Erik Von Dettin). Try as he might, Beaver just can’t seem live up to his father’s expectations. No matter how hard he tries to please his stern, but loving father, Ward (Christopher McDonald), and mother, June (Janine Turner), he just can’t cut it. In short, Beave has a penchant for getting into trouble.
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER begins as Beave helps his brother deliver morning papers from the back of Wally’s bicycle, and, with slapstick accuracy, tosses newspapers into wet concrete, onto roofs, into truck cabs, and into neighbors’ fountains. As they return home, Beaver asks Wally how he can make his father proud enough of him to buy the new bicycle he saw in the store in town. Wally suggests that he tell his Dad that he’s going to join the elementary school football team.
That night, as he comes home from work (viewers still don’t know what Ward Cleaver does for a living) Beave tells his Dad he wants to play football. Ward gets stars in his eyes, picturing his son making an incredible touchdown run against heavy odds. He buys Beaver the shiny new bike. Beave is grateful, and expresses his gratitude: “Thanks Mom, thanks, Dad, you’re the best parents in the universe!” Regrettably, on an outing into town, a bully steals Beaver’s bike. At dinner, Mr. Cleaver reprimands his son severely for losing his things. Beaver is heartbroken.
Small of stature, Beaver has a hard time in football practice. In the one game where the coach lets him play, which his father is watching, he flubs the quarterback instructions he was supposed to give and passes the football to a smart-aleck opposing player who called for the pass.
In class, he just can’t seem to keep up. Lo and behold, his homeroom teacher asks him to stay after class for a private tutoring session, and he finds a ready-made excuse which his Dad will understand to get out of football practice. Thus, no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t live up to his father’s expectations.
The climax comes as the bully who stole Beaver’s bike challenges him to climb to the top of a tall coffee sign which pumps out steam and see if it has any coffee in it. He promises he will give back Beaver’s bike if Beaver does it. Of course, Beave gets stuck. A passerby calls police, and his comical predicament becomes the subject of the nightly news in Mayfield, Ohio. How will he ever make his Dad proud now?
Most of the appeal of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER derives from its thrust toward family bonding implicit in its premise: what can the son do to obtain his father’s love? It is an age-old dilemma played out in millions of families across the world every day, more or less clearly, with more or less realization. Some fathers know how to give unconditional love to their sons (and daughters), others don’t. Happily, in LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, Ward Cleaver learns how he can give unconditional love to his son, and it is a fortuitous lesson for all audiences everywhere.
With high production values, appealing storyline, wholesome family interaction, and beautiful symphonic music based on the TV show melody, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER is an entertaining, fun movie the whole family will enjoy. While Janine Turner may wear her pearls and impeccable lipstick even while she vacuums, this movie leaves the viewer feeling warm and cuddly as he or she exits the theater.
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