Were you aware there was a fourth Beethoven film? I can’t really say that I did before buying the complete Beethoven DVD collection for a friend. But are you ready for a bigger shock? Not only is this not the last movie about this particular big dog, but it’s not even the last of the numbered movies. But the franchise reboot is a post for another day; today we’re still with the new Newtons from Beethoven’s 3rd and the worst version of the dog. Oh joy.
Richard, Beth, Boy Child, and Girl Child are still owners of Beethoven until the original Newtons come back from Europe. Beethoven’s shenanigans and utter lack of training has Beth at the end of her rope, ready to send the dog to a farm upstate. I mean that literally, as she’s not prepared to kill Beethoven… yet. Boy Child and Girl Child are desperate to keep Beethoven so they secretly enroll him in obedience training, which does not go well. Meanwhile, a rich family has an identical Saint Bernard named Michelangelo, who behaves so well it borders on unbelievable. Seriously, what kind of dog wipes all of their paws before coming inside? That family consists of Reginald (Mr. Matt McCoy, AKA the “Serenity now” guy from Seinfeld), Martha, and Different Girl Child. Their butler, Simmons (Mark Lindsay Chapman who played John Lennon in Chapter 27, as versus Mark David Chapman who killed John Lennon), is the villainous mastermind this time, working with his idiot brother to kidnap and ransom Michelangelo. But uh oh! Some wacky hijinks result in Beethoven and Michelangelo switching places! Now the Newtons are surprised at how well behaved their dog is, while the rich family is shocked at their dog doing unseemly behavior like drooling on the floor! But Richard misses the old Beethoven, so his untraining of “Beethoven” ends up turning a well behaved dog into another slobbery monster. The kidnapping plot is foiled, the dogs switch back, and the two families have no real idea what happened.
Beethoven’s 4th is another soulless cash grab using a recognizable name. I don’t know what I was expecting from the fourth Beethoven movie, but even my low expectations weren’t met. This movie has a grown man drinking out of a toilet in order to teach a dog how to behave poorly, something that he fully knows drives his wife up the wall. Sure, Richard has reasons for doing this, but they’re weak as hell: he “needs” Beethoven’s shenanigans to inspire him so he can paint animal-themed pictures for greeting cards. Granted, he found himself in that position because Beethoven ruined his initial painting and had to scramble at the last minute to make something up, but remembering that would mean that he’d be mad at Beethoven like Beth is, and that wouldn’t do. We have to have one adult not want to throw Beethoven in the garbage, otherwise the conflict is super easy to resolve. “Kids, your mother and I had a talk. The dog is gone.” But then there’d be no movie, so whatever.
The story is flimsy as hell; you used the basic formula of The Prince and the Pauper and DIDN’T name the film The Prince and the Pupper? I don’t care if that meme term wasn’t as prevalent in 2001! I know they had dog-themed options, because Richard at one point says, “Who let the dog in?” referencing Baha Men’s big hit. Luckily I’ve been listening to a different brand of garbage so that song had no change of getting stuck in my head, sorry about the rest of you. Meanwhile, the butler’s motivation is left intentionally vague until the very end when it turns out he was an investor of the rich family’s one big flop product. So… he spent years working for them, never letting it slip how much he hated them? You do you, my dude, but that’s a little much for a Beethoven sequel.
And then there’s the weirdest thing in this movie. Long story short, Martha is holding some kind of fundraiser where she’s encouraging people to drink toilet water, and they have a big, decorative toilet fountain in their yard. Beethoven’s shenanigans cause the water pressure to be turned all the way up and the toilet explodes with Godzilla’s roar. Not “a sound like Godzilla’s roar,” but the actual roar of the iconic kaiju himself. A lot of bizarre decisions went into this movie, and that had to be the weirdest one yet.
Anyway, tune in next time for the last numbered Beethoven movie, where we swap to an entirely new family… almost.
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Next: Beethoven’s 5th
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