Leave It to Beaver (1997) Poster

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They Call This 'Wholesome?'
ccthemovieman-116 July 2006
As someone who grew up watching "Leave It To Beaver" on television, and now on DVD, this "upgraded" movie version is disgusting.

Out-of-touch movie critics like Porter & Martin, who have a best-selling paperback book each year of short movie reviews of anything on tape or disc, called this "wholesome" fun. In fact, they said it was so wholesome kids of today might not want to see it, meaning it was too goody-goody for them. This shows you how out-of-touch film critics can be because compared to that 1950s show, this is HARDLY a wholesome movie.

In this LITB, the young guys are all after girls and sex, use the word "suck" all the time and the story is filled with 1990s-type Hollywood portrayals and comments (Beaver was excited because he saw an R-rated movie, etc.)

Overall, it's still a kid's movie and Cameron Finley is "cute" as Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver and his parents are nice, but there are too may moral problems with this version. Stick to the TV shows, especially now that the first two seasons on DVD. Those are fantastic.
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Why not leave good TV alone
lucky82514 January 2001
I rented the movie with great hope I watch a "Leave it to Beaver" rerun every time they come on. What I got was a cheap overated mockery of great television. They turned the show into a complete mess. The characters, with Eddie Haskell as the one exception, were not even similar to that of the TV show. If it ain't broke don't fix it and next leave good wholesome television alone.
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to Erik V-D fans out there...
anncashmere5 August 2004
After hearing that Erik Von Detten was in this movie when he was younger... I was very curious to see it. Once the movie started, I could tell it was sort of a satire... which is totally cool and fun to watch. Beaver is a very charming character and Wally would be the perfect child if he acted the same in today's society.

This movie had my attention the whole way through. It was totally cute, and had a lot of references that little kids may not "get" ... Erika Christiansen is in this movie too and she looked way different back then. I think they did a good job in this movie trying to portray the way children think and act and perceive the world. Although the mother is portrayed a bit like a Stepford Wife, it isn't that big of a distraction. You really begin to feel for the characters in this movie even though there hasn't been a whole lot of character development.
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Learn from the Mistakes Made in This Film
mpbuchwald21 December 2016
Filmed on location in a drab real world setting instead of on an artistically designed backlot, this production, like many a remake, suffers by comparison to the original hit show and other better remakes, such as the Little Rascals or Dennis the Menace. The narrow focus of the dull witted producers seems to have been on production design and the issue of how to tastefully update from the golden age 50's to the 90's. In so thinking, they have put style above substance and altogether fallen short of the achievement of the original. The mise en scene moves from the idealized small town suburb of Hollywoodland to the gloomier landscape of an authentic 90's exurb, with the occasional camp fast food sign and ugly parking lot thrown in for ironic documentary effect. This is meant to make the audience believe the remake is more realistic, yet it drains the beloved TV favorite of iconic appeal. The bland characterization and lackluster acting suffer from a similar shortcoming--a missing sense of drama or a lack of imaginative expressiveness, all in the service of verisimilitude. There's unfortunately also "studied anachronism." 50's cars are randomly thrown onto the set together with more modern makes, a fumblingly inappropriate attempt to capture nostalgic 50's feeling. Probably the lead headed film makers thought they were being clever but it fell flat like the rest of the movie. A good remake may still be made. Until then, watch the reruns.
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What trouble a little kid can get into
Mike-DD25 August 2000
Seems amazing what trouble a little kid can get himself into at times. Quite an interesting watch - the plot revolves around the kid Beaver and the problems he has trying to do the things that will get his father to approve of him and like him more, and his older brother's attempts to woo a girl who likes another. Somehow, these people all manage to entangle themselves into one another's lives and makes for some pretty predictable sequences and scenes. But I like shows with kids as stars, and this is one of the better ones to come from the studios.
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Few similarities to the TV show
jescci3 January 2004
Big screen treatment of the classic '50's comedy series. It's got size and color and a score and stunts, but little of the charm or innocence or sincerity of the original which is what made it great. The script is distractingly episodic. Over all it is slick enough to hold the attention of a child, but fans of the tv show should stay far away.
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do you even watch the show?!
Colbys Cowgirl25 August 2001
I have read a bunch of these other reviews, in which many people seem to strongly dislike the 1997 movie "Leave it to Beaver." Well, I have one question for them: Do you even watch the show?! The 1997 movie combines countless themes and storylines from various episodes of the original series, a technique that is enjoyable and funny. The actors are great, and it is wonderful to see some of the original show's cast making cameos in the film (such as the actors who originally played June Cleaver, Eddie Haskell, and Lumpy). The movie gives a fresh twist to a classic television series, and effectively bridges the gap between generations. This film is enjoyable for younger children and teens who may not have seen the original series, as well as being exciting for parents or other adults who know and love the Cleaver clan from way back in the 50s. This film is a true winner, despite pointless criticisms that it may have received.
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Here's Beaver
bmxrountree17 July 2002
I grew up watching this show and I couldn't wait until the movie came out. After I watched it , the video was in my hands.

Since it was made from a tv series like The Brady Bunch , it beat them by a long shot.

It's worth watching and there's one scene that will tell you something if you pay attention to it. This is when the Beaver and his father are in the coffee cup and they're talking about ' the look '.

Eddie Haskell ( Ken Osmond ) appeared to have the right idea on his acting. Being around Ward and June he so polite but if he was with Wally or the Beaver it would be like he knew everything. Everyone else did a good job also. I liked the times whenever Lumpy would be so sloppy and eat anything in sight.

The funny thing about this movie is , when he got his bike for his birthday it brings back memories when I got one I kept dreaming about. It's a 20" red Diamond Back , alloy frame , three piece crank & double wall rim ( for all you riders to give you an idea.) That Christmas I thought it was over but sure enough at the last minute here it comes. It was 30* outside but I could care less ! I changed clothes and went for a spin. Since then it's been spotless and this was 4 years ago. I still have it.

Again as the movie , there's nothing wrong with it and enjoyable / relaxing for the whole family. There is a true example on this - DON'T let strangers ride your bike no matter what they say. Also lock it up. One time I thought mine was safe and I was gone for only 30 seconds. When I came out , it was gone but I caught them.
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Dull and directionless
emguy23 May 2000
This is a rather unfocused movie that actually has less depth than the sitcom it's based on. For the kid who played the Beav, it seemed like they wanted all the cuteness and none of the character. The story kept throwing random bits and pieces around, mostly cliches, without tying them together except in the most superficial ways. Scenes that should have been comedic were played by the numbers. The performances were all stiff and lifeless, with the possible exception of the Beaver. There wasn't a trace of chemistry in the entire movie. Ward was presented in a very disjointed manner. June was completely irrelevant, as if the shallow well of the writers' ideas had run dry by the time they got to her. Eddie seemed all wrong. He should have been a Harry Flashman-like character, but in some scenes he came across as either a shy, nervous kid, or even as one of the Good Guys. The "villains" of the movie were only intermittently relevant to the story, and some of that seemed overly artificial and manufactured.

All in all, a dull, lifeless movie.
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Bad. . . but still a fun watch
PandoraProductions44 September 2014
Throughout watching practically this entire movie, I had a stupid grin on my face. That's the kind of film this is.

It's cheesy, sentimental, substandard, and predictable. . . . and I enjoyed it.

Before watching it, I had never seen an episode of the classic sitcom ''Leave it to Beaver'', from which this movie is based, but I was acquainted enough with the material to expect some Dennis the Menace type antics. And that's what I got.

It's hard to figure out if the movie is winking at us; it just seems so cheerfully absurd!

It basically follows the story of Beaver, a trouble-prone young boy, and his adventures and misadventures. The film's setting is in a suburban neighbourhood stuck somewhere between 1950 and 1990.

Although I was really entertained, this movie's definitely not very good.

But if you want a heartwarming and gentle film that's very ridiculous, you might want to check this one out.
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Leave It In the Garbage Bin.
anaconda-4065810 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Leave it to Beaver (1997): Dir: Andy Cadiff / Cast: Cameron Finley, Christopher McDonald, Janine Turner, Erik von Detten, Erika Christensen: Sitcom remake about trust and solving problems. It regards a boy named Beaver Cleaver who wants a bike for his birthday but bad advice has him joining junior football so that his father will be impressed enough to buy it for him. Lame subplots involving Wally's difficulties with girls plus Beaver's bike stolen right in front of him because he is too stupid to know the difference. The film isn't childproof with sneaking out at night and Beaver descending a giant coffee cup after two kids take him for a fool. Then Beaver receives help after school thus lying about football practice. What parent would object to their children attempting to improve their grades? Director Andy Cadiff can be credited for its appropriate sitcom appeal but it plot is just plain dumb. Christopher McDonald and Janine Turner do their best as the otherwise standard appeal parental roles. Cameron Finley plays the dimwitted Beaver. Erik von Detten plays airhead Wally. Erika Christensen plays the female targeted for a relationship as well as being part of a film this bad. Yet another pointless sitcom to film and release to a public that never asked for it. It doesn't translate the sitcom successfully so studios can leave it to Beaver to empty our wallets. Score: 3 / 10
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Excellent film adaptation of a classic TV show with appealing performances
Catherine_Grace_Zeh21 November 2005
LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, in my opinion, is an excellent film adaptation of a classic TV show with appealing performances. Despite the fact that the punk (Glenn Harris Jr.) was a despicable thief, I fell madly in love with him. If you ask me, the way that Wally (Erik von Detten) fell for Karen (Erika Christensen) was absolutely romantic. When they were together in a scene, I felt really warm and tingly inside. Also, even though everyone gave an appealing performance, I liked the Beaver's (Cameron Finley) the best. In addition, I thought that Eddie (Adam Zolotin) was an unctuous guy. However, I thought that Judy (Brighton Hertford) and her mother (Shirley Prestia) were absolute b******. In conclusion, I highly recommend this excellent film adaptation of a classic TV show with appealing performances to any fan of the series who hasn't seen it. You're in for a good time, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with a friend, and watch it.
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Once you start seeing it, you can't leave the room!!
Lorrana5 June 1999
Leave it to Beaver is not what I would have chosen from the video shop shelves, but it really surprised me. I've never seen the old TV series (too young for that), and I don't know if the movie relates to it in any way. It's nice and genuine fun for the whole family. That movie got me, my parents and all my brothers stuck on the couch for two hours! Tha misadventures of this cute little boy are amazing! It's the kind of thing anyone of us has been through: parents pressure, looking up to your older brother, breaking things... all that happens when you're 8 and have a lot of energy to spend. You'll be glad you watched it.
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antipackerz7 July 2019
It only gets a 3 because of the 3 originals from the LITB series, June, Eddie, and Lumpy! This movie was stupid! I like the way Hollyweird changes the old characters appearance for a movie version of an old series, just to try and be "Politically Correct" They did it in the Honeymooners movie, Wild Wild West movie, etc etc!! How asinine!!
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Best TV sitcom to movie I have seen
jackwareingfilms26 June 2019
I personally off the top of my head can't think of any other TV sitcoms (especially from the early 60's) that were made into good movies. That being said, I was absolutely surprised at how much I liked this movie while catching it by accident on TV. It takes the nostalgia of the original series, and updates it while at the same time maintaining the innocence, and simplicity of the original. It's actually kind of clever and heart warming...and I am normally pretty cynical of these type of 60's TV movie remakes (i.e. Bewitched, Flintstones etc.)
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Peeved, Beaver purists will be, but I thought this tongue-in-cheek movie version was entertaining
inkblot112 January 2010
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver (Cameron Finley) is a prone-to-be- trouble third grader in Mayfield, the typical All-American community. His parents Ward (Christopher McDonald) and June (Janine Turner) love their younger son but are often exasperated at his failings. Older sibling, Wally (Erik Von Detten) tries to help his brother out of most scrapes. But, even delivering papers can result in disaster for the pie truck driver. When Beaver announces he is going out for football, his dad is so pleased that he gives Beaver what he wants most for his birthday, a new bike. However, a tricky older boy steals Beave's bicycle from under his nose. Ward and June are not happy. Meanwhile, Eddie Haskell continues to drop gushing compliments to all, especially Mrs. Cleaver, and convinces Wally to help him get close to a pretty girl, Karen (Erika Christensen). But, Karen has eyes for Wally. As Beaver continues to try to reclaim his bike, Wally falls for Karen, and Ward goes love-crazy when June does the house cleaning in pearls, what is ahead for the Cleaver clan? All right, I understand Beaver purists will not be happy with this screen version, for the squeaky-clean theme is not present. This is a tongue-in-cheek version, yes, so those with an open mind can give themselves a license to laugh. The opening montage, with Wally and the Beave delivering papers with disastrous results, is a keeper. So is Theodore's first day of third grade, where the teacher becomes sorry she ever asked what each student did over the summer. And, so it continues. All of the cast members are great and the script-direction is full of mirth and energy. The costumes are a hoot for they are "knock-offs" of fifties styles without being the genuine article and the production values are extremely high. All in all, don't be peeved at this film version of a television classic. Everyone loves the original, certainly, but most will be able to appreciate the funny send-up this flick offers the viewing audience.
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Even though it's stupid, every time it's on I can't help but watch it!
MovieAddict201626 August 2002
As weird as this may sound it's true. I just end up watching LEAVE IT TO BEAVER every time it's on. Even though it's pretty dumb, there's just a charm the film has that I can't help but notice every time it's on the Disney channel. It's fun for the whole family, and worth seeing. I'm not sure why though. 3/5 stars
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Up to Date Beaver
drystyx4 April 2011
Before watching the film, I realized it must have been quite a challenge, not to the actors, but to the writers, to update it. With knowledge of writing, I figured one writer could probably do it, but that a team would probably dilute it terribly.

Four writers are listed, two as major writers, so it isn't as badly diluted as if a large team did it.

And the writers did well.

We have an up to date Beaver, with an up to date world, but still keeping in the story line of basic day to day life struggles, and drawing some comedy from them.

If I was to nit pick, it would be at the parents. Ward and June are nothing like the old series. While the other characters seemed perfectly cast, it looked like there was an attempt to deviate from Beaumont and Billingsley in the portrayal of the parents. Hugh's Ward was not nearly the pretty boy we see in this movie. Nor was he as ill tempered. Hugh was the personification of moderation.

That said, the actors were all very good. I've worked in little "real life" depiction films before, and each scene is extremely time consuming to film, and the more "ordinary" a scene appears, the more time it takes to film it. This, of course, is because Fantasy can have multiple depictions, but watching a grade school Football game is "watching a grade school Football game", and less can be left to chance. In these scenes, it really looks like all the participants were very patient. Not many people realize how much tougher an innocuous movie like this is to film. I always laugh when small movie producers will be reluctant to do a Fantasy based movie because of budget, when the budget for this sort of film is set at a large scale, while one can be lax with the other.

This new LEAVE IT TO BEAVER did a lot of very good things. The way the characters interwove throughout the piece was especially good. A little storybook? Not nearly so much as one would think, and no more story book than mere coincidence of all that can happen in a day will allow. It looks like the writers spent a ton of energy into interweaving the characters in the story, and came up with a very elaborate, well designed scheme.

Some very well done scenes, like the skating rink, but it's not fair to single these out, because all of the scenes were well done. I won't credit the director for keeping an entire cast and crew in line, because it is the cast and crew who deserve credit for their patience. Anyone could direct a team as disciplined as this.

That's not to put down the director. You have only to look at my high rating of the film to know how I feel about that. Everything was well done. I was pleasantly surprised.
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Golly, has the Beav ever become a screw-up
helpless_dancer8 August 2001
Enjoyable little family flic with a much cuter Mrs Cleaver than the old TV show. Ward was quite a bit more uptight than the old Mr. C. Eddie. You gotta love this guy anytime; what a conniving, nosy little suck-up. This film was updated to the point of losing most of the flavor of the original program. Gee, I just liked the old one best.
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since the original series was apparently a piece of crap, it's no surprise that the movie is also worthless
lee_eisenberg15 October 2007
My mom tells me about how, when she watched the original "Leave It to Beaver" TV series, she said: "Real people don't live like this." Growing up as she did nearly dirt poor in a refinery town near Houston, a portrayal of a mom wearing a pearl necklace all day and a dad wearing a suit and tie to work simply does not look realistic.

So, the "Leave It to Beaver" movie portrays the hapless kid causing all sorts of trouble, while his practically perfect parents always try to give him good advice. My advice to you is to skip this movie. It's movies like this that make the rest of the world consider American movies to be the worst (at least that's an accurate view of most Hollywood movies). There are far better movies out there. Nineteen ninety-seven alone gave us "Fierce Creatures", "Donnie Brasco", "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery", "The Fifth Element", "Men in Black", "In & Out", "The Ice Storm", "LA Confidential", "Jackie Brown", "Wag the Dog", Good Will Hunting" and "As Good as It Gets" - and those are just the good American movies; travel outside our borders and you find "The Full Monty" - so there's no reason to let this one represent that year.

All in all, pitiful.
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Leave it, Beaver....
FlashCallahan20 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The Cleaver family live in Ohio. Father Ward, mother June, teenage son Wally and 8-year- old "Beaver" Theodore.

Beaver hopes to get a bike as a gift from his father and to please him tries out for his school football team, only to be embarrassed when he makes it.

The bike he gets is stolen by one of the local kids. Wally is trying to help his friend Eddie Haskell to get the heart of pretty classmate Karen, but Karen seems to like Wally more, and that leads to tensions between the friends....

Another case of make money from the title, a huge TV series in the sixties, this vanished without a trace in the US, and here in the UK, it was just one of those straight to video movies that gathered dust on the shelf.

And its easy to see why. It's by the numbers stuff, nothing you've never seen before, and it all feels just a little too forced at times, and the most fundamental thing about the film is, that it's not funny in the least.

Straight from the off the film goes for slapstick with the delivering of papers. Pies go everywhere, paint lands in coffee, and people get wet. It goes rapidly downhill from there.

The cast feels stilted, the script very poor, and it all ends in a predictable, cute mushy way.

I've never seen the original TV series, and after this, I very much doubt I will.

I'd rather watch Father loves Beaver, as advertised on Scrooged.
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Cute Film but Missing Mathers and Dow!
Sylviastel10 August 2011
This film would have been complete if cameos were made by Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow who reluctantly declined to appear in this television show to film adaptation. It's not a bad film. The actor who plays Beaver is quite cute and funny at times. His parents are played well by Janine Turner and Christopher McDonald. Wally is played okay by Erik Von Detten. The story is about a small kid nicknamed the Beaver who manages to get into trouble with all sorts. It's funny to see him on the football team where he's so much smaller than his teammates. Also, the gags are quite silly and physical but nothing too much. Beaver always manages to get into some sort of trouble when he's not trying too. Barbara Billingsley who played June Cleaver in the series makes a cameo as Aunt Martha. It's not a bad film for kids and even adults to lighten the mood.
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grrlygrrl6 August 2001
This movie was okay...except for some flaws. First of all, what is the setting? I mean, everyone dresses like they're from the sixties or something, but then Eddie says something about Brad Pitt and the obnoxious blabbermouth lady is driving a sleek silver car that I wouldn't identify with the past. Everything else was acceptable, I guess, but then again, I've never seen the original.
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