Director Rod Daniel's BEETHOVEN'S 2ND (1993) is the sequel to the
box office hit BEETHOVEN (1992). Whereas the original stuck to formula
laughs with one slapstick gag after another, the sequel turns its
attention to character development and to the subject of love.
Although still not memorable entertainment, it is much better than the
In BEETHOVEN'S 2ND, the dog Beethoven and all of his canine
friends go looking for the opposite sex. Even in the Newton household,
father George (Charles Grodin), wife Alice Newton (Bonnie Hunt), and
their three kids, Ryce (Nicholle Tom), Ted (Christopher Castile), and
Emily (Sarah Rose Karr) have love on their minds. Except for Emily,
the kids find their first sweethearts and the parents try to help them
First to find true love is Beethoven who hooks up with a St.
Bernard named Missy. She has a large pink bow on her head so that the
audience realizes immediately that she is female. It seems Missy is
owned by humans, Regina (Debi Mazar) and her ex-husband, who are in the
process of getting a divorce. Regina tells her ex to pay her $50,000
for Missy, whom she actually hates, and screams at him, "If you want
your dog back, call my lawyer."
Beethoven successfully hits it off with Missy, and the result is
four of the sweetest little puppies (Moe, Chubby, Dolly, and
Tchaikovsky) you have ever seen. The movie's plot is about the kids
trying to hide the pups from their dad who thinks dogs are a pain and
about Regina, playing the Cruella de Vil role, trying to extort money
Ryce enters what appears to be a sweet romance and gets her first
kiss in a touching scene. Later in the film, we have an uncalled-for
sequence about underage drinking and the beginnings of date rape. This
has no place in a sweet little nostalgic picture about love and
Ted, nicknamed Shorty, is always the last to be picked in baseball
and even then they do not want him. My childhood was just like that so
this struck a chord with me. Later when a girl he is trying to make an
impression on tells him he is too short for her, he reasons to her,
"Height is just temporary, right? When you wake up in the morning,
you're a little taller." Again, I can remember so well the sinking
feeling of being rejected for a date. Did she really already have a
date for that night or was she just saying it so that you would go
Even little Emily comes alive in the sequel. Although at 5 she is
too young for her first romance, she does get to be wiser. When her
mom tells her something is too expensive for them, Emily retorts,
"We're not millionaires yet. Are we thousandaires?"
Bonnie Hunt's part as the mother is better drawn too than the
first, and Hunt is more animated. Only Charles Grodin manages to give
just as dismal a performance in the sequel as in the original. This
great comedic genius sleepwalks through both films.
As in the original, the cinematography (Bill Butler) and the sets
(Lawrence Miller) are middle town America at its best. A dreamy and
nostalgic feeling. There are lots of nice images, my favorites being
one with a pup on George's head and one of a puppy on a skateboard.
My favorite part of the picture is the ending, especially the
dream sequence and the "earthquake" scene. I am not giving anything
away by telling you this, but when you see the show, you will recognize
them based on the above description.
BEETHOVEN'S 2ND runs 1:29. It is rated PG. There are two
unnecessary minor cuss words and the inappropriate scene of underage
drinking and the start of date rape. This is no sex, nudity or
violence. The movie is fine for kids of any age although I do wish
they had deleted the above mentioned scenes. My son Jeffrey (age 7)
liked both BEETHOVENs. I liked this one a lot more than the first, but
not quite enough to recommend it. I give it ** for its sweetness, but
I wish it would have had more substance.
Copyright © 1996 Steve Rhodes