Leave It to Beaver [1997]

You might think that this 1997 comedy based on the popular late-'50s TV series would be little more than a pointless clone of its small-screen predecessor, but as a harmless slice of family entertainment it's surprisingly easy to take. Of course nobody could ever hope to match the original Cleaver family for Eisenhower-era charm, but there's cleverness afoot in the notion of presenting the Clinton-era Cleavers with just a hint of dysfunction beneath all that domestic bliss and innocence. While Ward (Christopher McDonald) pushes his son Beaver (Cameron Finley) onto the football team to compensate for the lost glories of his bygone youth, Beaver's grades suffer along with his self-esteem. When a teacher suggests that the Cleavers seek family counseling, June (Janine Turner) has visions of Beaver in the loony bin. Meanwhile, brother Wally is wracked with guilt over dating his friend Eddie Haskell's object of affection, but eventually these various plot lines (borrowed from the TV show) converge for the requisite happy ending. What--you were expecting Beaver to become a Prozac kid? --Jeff Shannon

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