The disappointing thing is that, despite the TV show's considerable limitations, there is more that could have been done here. Way back in 1983, CBS aired Still the Beaver, one of the best TV reunion shows ever made. Director Steven Hilliard Stern and his writers didn't merely drag Beaver into the (then) contemporary world; they dragged Beaver himself into adulthood. Jerry Mathers portrayed the now-35ish Beav as he might really have grown up. On the verge of divorce, alienated from his kids, out of work, Beaver has to go back to living with Mom: The cute blundering and dimness no longer seem so cute.
In its modest way, the TV movie was poignant and moving in a way the big-screen version doesn't even attempt: Theodore was indeed "still the Beaver." And there just wasn't much funny about that anymore.
Leave It to Beaver.
Cameron Finley, Christopher McDonald, Janine Turner, Erik von Detten, Erika Christensen, Justin Restivo. Written by Brian Levant and Lon Diamond, based on the TV series created by Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly. Directed by Andy Cadiff. Opens Friday.