Leave it to Beaver, the late 50's TV series, was big on morals, apple pie and other Americanisms, making it ripe for satire. Leave it to Beaver, the movie, however, is one for little kids. Little 90's kids, with young Beaver uttering words like "awesome" and "cool" in this updated version.Finley is the luckless Beaver Cleaver (or Theodore, as he is never called) and it's his and his clan's likeabilty which drives this thinly-plotted, happy-families vehicle. But somehow Beaver's dad (McDonald from Flubber) and mum (Turner from Northern Exposure) do manage to weave slight satirical elements into their roles (also watch for Barbara Billingsley, the original Mrs Cleaver, as Aunt Martha).
The story centres on Beaver's adventures with a shiny new bicycle, while brother Wally (von Detten) helps provide a romantic teenage sub-plot. Von Detten also delivers the film's funniest moment, when the Cleavers endure family counselling, 90's style.
This film is pitched at 'The Whole Family', but kids are too young to know Beaver, and for adults, this is no Brady Bunch Movie.Yet, through the charm of its cast and half-way decent script, Leave it to Beaver is quite enjoyable. Surprisingly so. Just leave it to video. ---Annette Basile