Making the Grades
Figuring it must be time for another romp through the neighbors pansies, Universal has unleashed the unwieldy St. Bernard (who has been in the doghouse since his 1994 caper ), locked him in a motor home with a new Newton family, and ended up with Beethoven on wheels.
Planning the perfect motor home vacation en-route to a family reunion in California, Richard Newton (Judge Reinhold) discovers his brother has a little something he needs driven out to the Golden State. When the article turns out to be Beethoven, Richard's wife Beth (Julia Sweeney) refuses, insisting the pooch be left behind at a kennel. But before you can say "dog gone", Beethoven escapes and catches up with the Newton's, leaving Beth and son Brennan (Joe Pichler) convinced the trip can't get any worse.
That's only because they aren't aware of two software pirates who are seeking a DVD copy of The Shakiest Gun In The West that Richard has packed along for the trip. No, they're not Don Knotts fans, they just want the computer disk that has been substituted in the box. In their bumbling quest to steal the disk, the Newton's daughter Sara (Michaela Gallo) and Beethoven become suspicious. But no one else will believe they are being followed until things become very serious.
A basic family road movie, this script offers a hot dog with few condiments -- except for an ample dose of tomato sauce after Beethoven discovers a skunk. At best children may be amused and the adults may identify with the Newton's despair. Unfortunately, both the holiday and the movie fall short of expectations.
The software thieves' slapstick attempts to break into the Newton's motor home with only Sara inside (perhaps better titled Motor Home Alone - considering both series share creative force John Hughes) become tiresome. Brennan's initial bad attitude about family vacations improves only when he meets a young female tourist (they're both about 12) which leads him to disobey his parents. Except for these objections, this movie does attempt to portray a happy -- albeit bizarre -- family trying to spend time together.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Beethoven’s 3rd.
Why do movies often portray boys Brennan’s age falling in love? Is this realistic? Are boys or girls more likely be interested in the opposite sex at this age? Which gender is more likely to find this romantic angle appealing?