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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film's openly dismissive attitude toward women who work will rankle many. The children are rude to their father when they disagree with his actions, and relent only when they get their way.
Positive Role Models
The dad hates Beethoven and is more centered on his career than anything else for much of the movie. The mom spits in the beverage of an unpleasant yuppie with whom her husband is conducting business. The remaining characters are too one-dimensional to be seen as positive role models.
Violence & Scariness
A veterinarian and his henchman run a stolen dog ring in the interests of trying to test how destructive and "messy" a bullet is when fired at point-blank range. A bespectacled youngster is bullied. Everyone in the family cheers after the father jumps through the glass of a roof and lands in front of the villain, then punches him. A young girl nearly drowns before she is rescued by Beethoven. Beethoven is almost killed by a villain who abuses animals in the name of research, is shown punching Beethoven in the head. The vet is knocked out by a several syringes catapulted into his chest.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
When Beethoven gets in bed and starts licking the father in the movie, the father thinks it's his wife, and makes remarks like "is Daddy's little girl being naughty?"
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"Hell." "Sucks." "Dork." The dad uses the term "ding-dong head." Implied profanity written down by a little girl. A girl calls her dad a "dog killer." When trying to expand his business, the dad says that if the deal doesn't go through, "I'll kill myself."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beethoven is a 1992 comedy about an oversized St. Bernard who prevents and causes trouble for a suburban family. A bespectacled youngster is physically and verbally bullied until he stands up to the bullies with the help of Beethoven. Everyone in the family cheers when the father hits a villain. A young girl nearly drowns before she is rescued by Beethoven. A veterinarian and his henchman run a stolen dog ring in the interests of trying to test how destructive and "messy" a bullet is when fired at point-blank range. Beethoven is almost killed by a villain who abuses animals in the name of research, and is shown punching Beethoven in the head. There's some sexual innuendo -- Beethoven gets into bed with the father and starts licking the back of his head; thinking it's his wife, he starts to moan with pleasure and says, "is Daddy's little girl being naughty?" After each family member writes down the name they want to give the dog after he turns up in their home, it's strongly implied that the youngest girl, maybe 5 years old, has written down a bad word. "Hell," "sucks," and "damn" are heard. When trying to expand his business, the dad says that if the deal doesn't go through, "I'll kill myself." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The slapstick gags in this movie may be old as the hills, but that hardly matters for kids. For them, this comedy hit offers the irresistible combination of a dog whose destructiveness is excused by his innocence with the spectacle of a prissy, fastidious father who is proven wrong at nearly every turn.
Written by John Hughes (using the pseudonym "Edmond Dantes"), Beethoven takes a lot of unnecessary cheap shots. With the exception of Mrs. Newton, all of the adult characters are depicted as either ninnies or villains. No father would want to be treated the way that George Newton is treated by his kids when they disagree with him. One 7-year-old viewer considered George to be a "jerk," even after he saves Beethoven in the end. Beethoven is only occasionally lively, but young kids will watch it over and over to see the dog drool, shake, and slobber all over the place. Sensitive kids may be bothered by the animal abuse and peril.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.