A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Beethoven's 2nd is the 1993 sequel to the hit movie about the comically large St. Bernard who gets into all kinds of wacky situations. Although this film continues the comedic pratfalls of the first, what is very disturbing is a scene in which a teen girl goes to a lake house party filled with other teens drinking beer and acting drunk. She is led upstairs by a boy she has a crush on, and he locks her in the room and tells her, "Relax. This is going to be an experience you're never going to forget." This scene of seemingly near-date rape is averted when Beethoven knocks down a load-bearing beam just in the nick of time, causing the house to collapse. There are other moments of family difficulties and kids not fitting in. Young Ted is poor at sports and unwanted for the team. Mr. and Mrs. Newton are having financial troubles. A young child asks her father where babies come from, and his failure to answer may prompt viewing children to pose the same question. But really, the scene in the lake house with the teens drinking and the near-date rape is so out of place and disturbing, it makes this movie problematic for all ages.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's love at first sight when Beethoven meets Missy, a female St. Bernard, in the park. He helps her escape from her owner's ex-wife Regina and her boyfriend Floyd, who plans to use Missy as a tool to negotiate for more alimony. A few months later, the Newton kids track Beethoven to the basement of Regina's building, where Missy has given birth to puppies. The kids get Beethoven and the pups away just before Regina finds Missy. Regina wants the puppies back after she learns they're worth a lot of money. Though the kids try to keep the puppies a secret, skipping school to keep them fed, Mr. and Mrs. Newton find out about them. Reluctantly agreeing to keep them, Mr. Newton takes the family on a Fourth of July camping trip. Little does he know that Regina and Floyd are staying nearby.
Is it any good?
If one St. Bernard is cute, how about six of them -- that's the idea behind this sequel, which is in some ways better than the first, at least for parents. For one thing, Beethoven isn't quite so sloppy as he was last time. And father George Newton (the typically droll Charles Grodin) isn't treated like such an idiot. An 11-year-old viewer liked Beethoven's 2nd better than the first for the cute romance between Beethoven and Missy.
As in the previous film, BEETHOVEN'S 2ND is thinly plotted, essentially an excuse to put these dogs on-screen. It was in poor taste to include a scene in which daughter Ryce is nearly raped by a drunken boy on whom she has a crush in a movie otherwise suitable for young children.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's adult themes. How did Ryce get away from her attacker? What role did alcohol play in the attack? How would you handle yourself in that situation?
What do the kids learn about the responsibilities of taking care of five dogs in their home?
Why do you think movies centered on dogs are so popular?
- In theaters: April 15, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: June 3, 2003
- Cast: Bonnie Hunt, Chris Penn, Debi Mazar
- Director: Rod Daniel
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, High School
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild language and unsuitable teen behavior.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.