Leave It to Beaver

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Leave It to Beaver Movie Poster Image
Updated take on '50s TV show has some bullying.
  • PG
  • 1998
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It's important for siblings and parents to be patient and understanding with kids as they make mistakes while growing up.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even when he's not on the best of terms with "The Beav," Wally helps defend Beaver from bullies. Ward and June Cleaver are kind parents who are loving and tolerant of Wally and Beaver's mistakes and changes as they grow up. Beaver Cleaver is, in spite of his comical mishaps, a sweet boy who's more honest than he realizes.

Violence & Scariness

A bully steals Beaver's bike. The bully and his friend taunt Beaver and Wally, and the bully forces Beaver to climb atop a building and go on the roof of the building in order to get his bike back. A boy is shoved into a vat of melted chocolate at the fair.

Sexy Stuff

Tween kissing and flirting between Wally and his new girlfriend. Some jealousy between boys.

Language

A few insults/salty words: "crap," "fart breath."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Leave It to Beaver is a modernized version of the classic TV show and includes some mild bullying. Beaver gets his bike stolen, and the bullies taunt him. There's some tween kissing and flirting going on as Wally experiences the excitement and heartbreak of a first love. Expect a bit of name-calling and a few words like "crap."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLowe's man January 17, 2014

may or may not capture your tastes, but still a needed movie

While this movie isn't as good as the show upon which it's based, and while they should've kept the setting in the 1950s, this movie will have so... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byamig0animad0 April 8, 2015

Good film

Although it show under aged kissing, it's still a good movie to enjoy
Kid, 12 years old December 22, 2017

Ugh

I hate this movie. It isn't even close to the cleanness of the original show. Wally and his girlfriend kiss a LOT. The kids are rude to the adults and it... Continue reading

What's the story?

Eight-year-old Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver wants a BMX bike. In the hopes of getting the bike, he does his best to please his father (Christopher McDonald), even going so far as to join the football team. On his birthday, Beaver gets the bike he wants, but while waiting outside a malt shop while his older brother Wally (Eric von Detten) tries to help the weaselly Eddie Haskell (Adam Zolotin) ask a girl out, a bully steals Beaver's bike. Beaver must figure out a way to get his bike back, while not telling his parents that he's not going to football practice because he's been staying after school to keep from failing his classes. Wally, meanwhile, starts dating the girl Eddie liked, but when he loses her to the bike thieves' equally rotten brother, Wally and "The Beav" set aside their sibling differences and work together to make things right.

Is it any good?

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER tries to find a middle ground between the nostalgia of the "innocent" 1950s and the contemporary concerns of the more modern 1990s, when the film was released. In other words, the filmmakers try to have it both ways, and they don't quite succeed in either attempt.

The movie works best when the characters act just as they did in the classic television show from the Eisenhower era. Adam Zolotin, the actor who plays the wonderfully weaselly Eddie Haskell, in particular deserves credit for capturing that mocking early teen laugh, the phony flattery to Ward and June Cleaver (played enjoyably with 1950s exaggerated gender roles by Christopher McDonald and Janine Turner), and all the other mannerisms originally presented by Ken Osmond -- who, along with the original June Cleaver, Barbara Billingsley, make entertaining cameos. But when the film tries to be a contemporary movie about contemporary kids with ginormous personal computers, Gameboys, and other relics of late-'90s kid culture, it feels forced and pointless. This would have been a much better movie had they kept it set in the 1950s, where it belongs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this film is an adaptation of a 1950s TV series. In what ways did the filmmakers evoke the spirit of the original show? In what ways did they try to make the characters, story, and setting more modern?

  • How realistic were the actions of the bullies? How would you deal with bullies?

  • Where did the film attempt to convey actual realities -- in and out of school -- that kids and parents contend with?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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