Making the Grades
In this case, Beethoven may not be a classic, but is a good bet for a fun family film. Beethoven, a growing St.Bernard, adopts a family in need of some love. George (Charles Grodin), the grumpy, dog hating dad, eventually succumbs to the desires of his family, and winds up a far better father in the end.
This movie scores high points for family values, as parents learn the importance of listening to and spending time with their children. It shows the stay-at-home-mom as a viable lifestyle, a rare concept in movies today.
Minor points are lost with some violence towards the end, and one scene where Dad is suddenly the family hero for punching out the bad guy. Not a horrible scene by any means, just not necessary. A short scene where George mistakes Beethoven for his wife in bed beside him is funny, but had some unnecessary sexual dialogue.
This film also answers the mystery question of, "What ever happened to Dean Jones?" A favorite clown of Disney flicks (Love Bug series and others), he plays the shady veterinarian who is out to get Beethoven for "testing purposes." Some children may find this character a little scary, and may be concerned about their own pet's safety.
This is one of the better Ivan Reitman films I have seen, as his past efforts (Ghostbusters, Kindergarten Cop) have not left me impressed. Director Brian Levant offers some unusual and creative views of life through a dog's eyes, through the use of low and wide camera angles.