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|Festivale online magazine, April, 1998|
Leave it to Beaver movie review
|Leave it to Beaver|
School holidays approach, and so does the new batch of kids' films. This time it's Leave it to Beaver, following the tried-and-true tactic of updating a classic TV show for a modern audience. Unlike the Brady Bunch Movie, this re-creation faithfully follows the original, with its idyllic nuclear family in an idyllic small-town neighbourhood.
|For all its whitebread origins, it's not a bad film. The actors playing Ward (Christopher McDonald), June (Janine Turner), Wally (Erik von Detten) and the Beaver (Cameron Finley) play their roles with relaxed charm. There aren't many functional families around nowadays, but these folk make it look easy. Of course they have their little character flaws and dilemmas, but the problems of life never rise much above whether or not to tell Dad you really don't want to be in the football team. There are villains and girls and nods to the 90s, as when the whole family has an appointment with the school psychologist to talk about Beaver.
One thing bothers me though... it's unclear in this modern version whether June is a housewife or has a career of her own. We certainly see her doing the housework in immaculate make-up and pearls, but it seems as if the film's makers are embarrassed to admit it's an old-style father-as-breadwinner family. That's the problem with this movie - it's not sure if it's really in the 90s or not. The cast are much more ethnically diverse than the old series, sure, but the family dynamics just seem a little unbelievable. I would have liked to see June with a career for a start, and a few other modern touches in addition to the ones in evidence.
Overall though, it's an inoffensive movie with a good cast and will appeal to young kids.
See also: Ali's review
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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