A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this pointless third installment of the Beethoven franchise is packed with comedic pratfalls of varying degrees of intensity. Like the first movies, there are lots of scenes involving the titular St. Bernard shaking his slobber or water or food at inopportune times, covering the human characters and causing them to react outrageously. Even those whose love for dogs in movies makes them overlook weak storylines will find this one difficult to get through.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
The Newton family are about to take an RV road trip from Denver to a family reunion in California when they are surprised with a special delivery -- a large St. Bernard named Beethoven sent from Europe, where the Newton family from the first two Beethovens are currently (and conveniently) living.
Between Denver and California, Beethoven slobbers, knocks over things, spills things, and causes slapstick pratfalls wherever he goes. As if this didn't make things difficult enough for the Newtons, they must also contend with two bumbling hackers who had placed a top-secret computer code in a Don Knotts DVD the Newtons have rented from a video store.
Is it any good?
Aside from Hollywood's profit motive, there really was no reason to make a third Beethoven movie (or a fourth). There are no pratfalls and "slobbering dog making a big ol' mess" scenes that weren't in the first two. Since Charles Grodin's character and his family are conveniently in Europe for this one, it can be a little sad to reflect on how low Judge Reinhold and Julia Sweeney's careers have drooped.
Nonetheless, there are surely kids who will enjoy the eye candy of big lug Beethoven lumbering around from one scene to the next, and this enjoyment will trump the weak storyline and painfully unfunny slapstick. But families as a whole will have better luck with the first two in the series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how dogs are portrayed in films. How is the Beethoven series similar and different from other films starring dogs?
Why are sequels made when the original actors don't want to be in the later movies?
How does this film compare to other movies where families take road trips together? What's the appeal of the road trip movie?
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