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Beethoven's 2nd

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Beethoven's 2nd

Starring: Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt
Director: Rod Daniel
Rated: PG
RunTime: 86 Minutes
Release Date: December 1993
Genres: Comedy, Kids, Family

*Also starring: Debi Mazar, Nicholle Tom, Christopher Castile, Sarah Rose Karr, Chris Penn, Ashley Hamilton, Maury Chaykin, Jeff Corey, Virginia Capers

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

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 first.

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 cope.

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 using Missy.

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 puppies.

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 away?

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

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