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Beethoven's 4th

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

Starring: Judge Reinhold, Julia Sweeney
Director: David Mickey Evans
Rated: G
RunTime: 93 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genres: Comedy, Kids

*Also starring: Joe Pichler, Matt McCoy, Joyce Brothers, Michaela Gallo, Kaleigh Krish, Veanne Cox, Doren Wilson

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

BEETHOVEN'S 4TH, an unoriginal but sometimes funny family film, is, of course, the fourth in the series about a lovable St. Bernard named Beethoven. The plot this time is a twist on the old story of a look-a-like aristocrat (Michelangelo) and a commoner (Beethoven) getting swapped. Michelangelo is so well mannered that he not only picks up napkins that humans drop, he also folds them before placing them on the table. The proverbial slob Beethoven, in contrast, is a walking disaster area. Some of the camera angles are from within toilets and trashcans so we can better witness Beethoven's slovenly behavior. Both canines are wonderfully lovable.

The supporting human cast delivers acceptable performances, but their purpose is really to be the backdrop for dog antics.

Michelangelo lives in a mansion befitting his regal demeanor. The daughter, Madison Sedgwick (Kaleigh Krish), has to cope with two AWOL parents. Her dad, Reginald (Matt McCoy), is a techno billionaire who spends his time playing with his personal digital assistant (PDA), and her mom, Martha (Veanne Cox), is a full-time fur fighter. (Well, she is until she switches to plugging the health benefits of toilet water, which causes her to ask Dr. Joyce Brothers whether it means that she had "issues with potty training" when she was child.)

At Beethoven's house, where most of the action -- read messes and pratfalls -- occur, the household is led by "Mr. Mom," Richard Newton (Judge Reinhold), while his wife, Beth (Julia Sweeney), goes to the office. Richard, a painter, develops a great idea for greeting cards that people can send to themselves from their pets. The kids in the Newton household are played nicely by Joe Pichler and Michaela Gallo.

There isn't a single scene in Beethoven to offend anyone. And there isn't a memorable one either.

BEETHOVEN'S 4TH runs 1:34. It is rated G and would be acceptable for all ages.

My son Jeffrey, age 12, found few scenes funny, and, overall, he thought the material was only enough for a 30-minute television show. He gave the movie just one star and considered giving it less.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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