Six-year-olds and animal rights activists should warm up to the titular big slobbering dog, his perfect family and the experimentation ring that brings them together, and the pic rallies at the end to prevent chaperoning adults from feeling their time was completely wasted.

Six-year-olds and animal rights activists should warm up to the titular big slobbering dog, his perfect family and the experimentation ring that brings them together, and the pic rallies at the end to prevent chaperoning adults from feeling their time was completely wasted.

The real star is a 185-pound St Bernard. Stolen as a puppy, he stumbles into the Newton family’s life. They are a demographically perfect group, with an uptight dad (Charles Grodin) who reluctantly agrees to adopt the beast.

Beethoven grows and, as only movie dogs can, manages to help the kids’ lives in various creative ways, even as he mangles the house and antagonizes Dad. Ultimately, Grodin is forced into action when the dog becomes the victim of an animal-theft ring led by an oily vet (Dean Jones), leading to a resolution so predictable that even the youngest of tots can feel smug in having guessed it.

Director Brian Levant cut his teeth directing sitcoms before turning to features with Problem Child 2, and the influence shows, particularly in the cartoonish perfs he gets from villains.

Beethoven

Production

Universal. Director Brian Levant; Producer Joe Medjuck, Michael C. Gross; Screenplay Edmond Dantes, Amy Holden Jones; Camera Victor J. Kemper; Editor Sheldon Kahn, William D. Gordean; Music Randy Edelman; Art Director Alex Tavoularis

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Charles Grodin Bonnie Hunt Dean Jones Oliver Platt Stanley Tucci Nicholle Tom
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