Leave It to Beaver (film)
|Leave It to Beaver|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andy Cadiff|
|Produced by||Robert Simonds|
|Written by||Brian Levant
|Based on||Leave it to Beaver
by Bob Mosher
Erik von Detten
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Cinematography||Thomas Del Ruth|
|Edited by||Alan Heim|
Robert Simonds Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Leave It to Beaver is a 1997 film that is a remake of the TV situation comedy series of the same name. There are many in-jokes related to the original series within the movie. The film features all the original regular characters, all played by new actors. It also took the unusual route of placing the original sitcom characters, with their 1950s fashion sense and 1950s sitcom family morality, in a contemporary 1990s setting, drawing humor from the resulting culture clash.
Beaver (Cameron Finley) gets his heart set on a bicycle in a store window, but does not think his parents will shell out that money for it. Eddie Haskell (Adam Zolotin) tells him that if he sucks up to his father (Christopher McDonald), by signing up for football, he will be sure to get it on his upcoming birthday. He enrolls on the football team and doggedly endures the practices, despite his disadvantage of being smaller than most his teammates. As Eddie predicted, Ward is glad Beaver signed up for football, as evidenced by a brief fantasy Ward has of Beaver making a touchdown while several professional football players all fail to tackle him. However, the first game of the season ends poorly when he passes the ball to a kid on the opposing team when he mistakingly remembered him as a friend from summer camp. On the first day of school five days later, Ward and June (Janine Turner) tell Wally to drop Beaver off and pick him up for a few days because he has never ridden his bike there before. At school he sits beside a very pretty girl named Susan Akatsu (Brenda Song) and has a kind teacher named Miss Landers (Grace Phillips). After school Eddie asks Wally to come to the soda shop to see him flirt with Karen (Erika Christensen). Eddie does not want Beaver to follow them, so Wally leaves him alone at the bike rack telling him he will be back in a second.
Beaver is polishing his bike when a punk teenage boy (Glenn Walker Harris Jr.) comes over, admires it, and asks him if he can show him some cool bike tricks. He agrees and the boy shows him some tricks before riding off with the bike. Inside the shop it becomes apparent that Karen likes Wally, not Eddie. When Wally and Eddie come out of the shop and hear that Beaver's bike was stolen they look for it but can't find it. During dinner that night, the boys try to cover up the fact that the bike was stolen, but to no avail. When Ward hears this he is upset with Beaver, but angrier at Wally because he was responsible for watching Beaver. In the boys' bedroom, they get into a fight which sends Beaver's new computer flying out the window. Wally grabs the wire and tries to pull it in and does, but the wire breaks, and it falls out the window and crashes into many pieces.
Beaver decides to skip football practice and study instead, and Wally starts spending more time with Karen now instead of Beaver. Karen however breaks up with Wally after reuniting with her arrogant ex-boyfriend (who is the older brother of the bully who stole Beaver's bike) - leaving Wally discouraged. Beaver catches up with the boy who stole his bike, who challenges him to a dangerous stunt to climb into a gigantic coffee mug atop the local cafe, but when he does so, the boy rides off again and he is stuck. The fire department and Ward help get him down, whereupon Ward realizes Beaver may be under too much pressure. Ward says he has found out about Beaver's neglect of practices, but says he can quit the team if he wants. He, however, decides to go back to the team no matter how poorly he has been doing. During the last game, he gets a catch and runs it for a touchdown. At the Mayfield Festival, he encounters the boy who stole his bike and chases after him. Karen's boyfriend trips Beaver to help his little brother escape, and Wally retaliates by pushing him into a tub of chocolate fudge; Karen is also put off by her boyfriend's bullying and leaves him again for Wally. Beaver uses a concession stand to block way of the boy's bike and he ends up flying into a table of pies and slides down it with his face covered in pie and Beaver gets his bike back. At home, Ward sees him polishing it and he tells his dad that it would be safer if it stays in the house and he decides to read Beaver a bedtime story whereupon in the boys' bedroom is a newspaper headline about the winning game, aptly titled "Leave It to Beaver".
- Christopher McDonald as Ward Cleaver
- Janine Turner as June Cleaver
- Cameron Finley as Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver
- Erik von Detten as Wallace "Wally" Cleaver
- Adam Zolotin as Eddie Haskell
- Erika Christensen as Karen
- Alan Rachins as Fred Rutherford
- E.J. de la Peña as Larry Mondello
- Justin Restivo as Lumpy
- Geoff Pierson as Coach Gordon
- Louis Martin Braga as Gilbert Bates
Cameos by actors and actresses from the television series
The movie was poorly received by critics, as it currently holds a rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews.
Home video release history
- January 20, 1998 (VHS, DVD, and LaserDisc)
- March 20, 2007 (DVD – Family Favorites 4-Movie Collection, with The Little Rascals, Casper, and Flipper) (Note: All of these films are presented in anamorphic widescreen.)