CONTENT WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT COMES UP IN THIS FILM
I’m back with more Beethoven movies! Yes, the franchise with fewer films than Air Bud and Air Buddies (14) continues on with its first sequel. I imagine this was made because the first Beethoven made back 8 times its budget, and money talks. As we get further into the franchise I’m going to start assuming that “a desire for money” is the main motivator behind ideas like “Beethoven, but The Prince and the Pauper” or “Beethoven, but with Christmas magic.” But those are future reviews; today we’re going to talk about the one with an attempted sexual assault and a sexual abuser!
This film is still about the Newtons: George, Alice, son, older daughter, younger daughter, and Beethoven. What about all the other dogs they adopted at the end of the last movie? The movie never mentions them, so I imagine they’re all on a nice farm upstate. Anyway, the main focus of the film is Beethoven finding love and having puppies. Well, the girl dog, Missy, has the puppies, but she’s whisked away because her current owner is awful. Regina (Ms. Debi Mazar) is going through a nasty divorce, in that she’s being extremely nasty. She takes her ex’s dog and won’t give it back until he pays her $50,000, which he absolutely doesn’t have. Straight people are wild. Anyway, she’s holding Missy hostage but doesn’t actually give a shit about the dog. She does care a little when Missy gives birth, but only because the cash cow/dog went missing for a brief window. The Newton kids take the puppies right before Regina realizes that they’re purebred–the puppies, not the kids–and could be worth a fortune. Google says purebred Saint Bernard puppies go for around $1,000 each, so that’s not nothing? Not worth going crazy over–especially since none of them have breeding papers–but you do you, discount Fairuza Balk. This is the main conflict of the film. And referencing the end of my post las time, Regina is the mastermind and her boyfriend, Floyd, is both the bumbling henchman.
As for the Newtons, there’s not much going on. George apparently gets a risky loan for his air freshener business–the banker flat out says, “Your product flops, you lose your home,”–but it’s never brought up again. I guess it worked out? The son has a crush on producer Ivan Reitman’s real life daughter, but the mom and younger daughter don’t do much. But the older daughter, Ryce, has one hell of a storyline for a PG-rated film. She has a crush on Taylor (Ashley Hamilton, the guy who blew up in Iron Man 3 and nearly killed Happy), a boy her father describes as, “That’s the best looking kid I’ve ever seen in my life.” Sure, why not. Perfectly normal thing to say. Ryce also meets Seth (Danny Masterson) and is conflicted on who to like more. The decision is made for her when she attends a party with Taylor and he locks the bedroom door behind them, ready to force himself on her. This is stopped by Beethoven literally destroying the house–it’s a thing, just trust me–so she ends up with Seth in the end. The unfortunate “fridge horror” part is that in real life, Danny Masterson, AKA Hyde from That 70’s Show, is currently facing several charges of sexual assault. I won’t go into the details, but it involves the Church of Scientology and is… not good. So back to Beethoven’s 2nd, Ryce avoided sexual assault but hooked up with a sexual assaulter. Feels bad.
Anyway, Regina and Floyd keep showing up coincidentally at the same places as the Newtons, and eventually recognize the kids as the one who took the puppies. Beethoven and Missy run off and everyone chases after them, leading to a confrontation on a cliff. Floyd threatens to throw one of the puppies off, but the day is saved and it’s actually Regina and Floyd who fall off the cliff. They survive, in case you were wondering. Months later, Missy is returned to her rightful owner and the Newtons now have five Saint Bernards under one roof. May God have mercy on George Newton’s soul.
This film feels kind of weird, to me. It lowers the stakes–no one’s trying to shoot Beethoven with a gun–but raises them a bit by adding puppies in trouble. It toned down Beethoven’s atrocious behaviors, but replaced them with four unruly puppies. It has a fairly nice love song, but once you hear James Ingram sing, “I’ll be your Beethoven,” and Dolly Parton responds, “Roll over, Beethoven,” you realize this sequel about a dog had “The Day I Fell in Love” specifically written for it. Sure, “Eye of the Tiger” was written for Rocky III and is inextricably linked to that franchise, but at least Survivor doesn’t namedrop “Rocky!”
I will say I liked this better than the original. Sure, it has it’s “big yikes” moments, but still. George Newton learned to love Beethoven last time and while the puppies do get up to shenanigans that he gets dragged into, they’re not too much. All this leads to him being an actual character instead of a caricature. We learn about how he and Alice fell in love, and it was nice to see him in a mode other than “constantly furious.”
Too bad we’ll never see these Newtons or Beethoven’s puppies ever again! Time to put Beethoven in a box and mail him!
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