Beethoven's Second Review

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Beethoven, the eponymous hero, is still a St. Bernard's dog. Feeling broody, he scours the neighbourhood where he meets Missy, a fellow St. Bernard's. Romance blossoms and before long they are the proud parents of a litter of puppies. Missy's owners Regina and Floyd are, however, going through a divorce and Regina steals Missy and the puppies to use as leverage in a divorce settlement. The children of Beethoven's owners, the Newtons steal the puppies back, but they face an uphill struggle to reu

For those fortunate enough to have missed the first film, Beethoven is a very large St. Bernard who lives with Mr. and Mrs. Newton (Grodin and Hunt) and their two-point-five children in sunkissed middle America. In this episode, our shaggy friend goes a-courting, and before you can say Pedigree Chum, the cuddly canine has spied himself a mate in Missy, a fellow St. Bernard whose large floppy pink bow marks her out as a member of the opposite sex.

Pretty soon they're licking each other's faces, gazing vaguely off-screen and discovering the joys of parenthood. But fear not, this is no mere puppy-run-amok romp, rather a shaggy back-to-basics examination of traditional family values, as Missy is involved in a tug-of-love between her divorced owners, with evil ex-wife (Mazar) dognapping the pooch and holding her for ransom against her forthcoming alimony. With poor old Beethoven reduced to lone parenthood, it takes a heart-warming team effort from the Newton brats to hand-rear the abandoned pups in their basement, out of sight of the hapless Grodin.

Some vaguely clever touches — comedy action shot from a pooch's-eye-view, a couple of amusing dream sequences — help to balance out the dollops of wet-nosed sentiment, and slick gags involving wandering pups do indeed raise the odd titter of childish laughter. Emily Rose Karr, as the youngest Newton, wins the cutesy contest paws down, and Grodin provides efficient double takes, going through the pratfalls like a trooper.

If you don't take anyone older than six you should be okay.