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Really fun romantic comedy with great acting, clever script, and charismatic Suzy Amis
Twenty years after we last saw the Cleaver family in Leave it to Beaver, we revisit them in this CBS TV movie created by Brian Levant and broadcast in March 1983.
Beaver (Jerry Mathers) is grown and has two boys of his own but his wife is divorcing him, so he moves back in with his mother June (Barbara Billingsley) at 211 Pine Street in Mayfield (Ward has died). Wally (Tony Dow) is a lawyer married to his school sweetheart Mary Ellen Rogers and they are trying to have children. Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond) is back and the same as ever running a shyster construction company, and he has a son (Eddie Jr) who is a chip off the old block (his real-life son). Friends Lumpy (Frank Bank) and his father Mr. Rutherford (Richard Deacon), Larry (Rusty Stevens), Richard (Richard Correll), and Tooey (Lucas "Luke" Fafara II, aka Tiger) are still around, as is Miss Canfield (Diane Brewster), now principle of the school of the Cleaver grandchildren.
This movie led to one season of The Disney Channel's first original scripted series also called Still the Beaver in 1984-85, and three more seasons on Ted Turner's WTBS Superstation under the name The New Leave it to Beaver from 1986-89.
Of course this Still the Beaver movie doesn't offer all the 1950s-era innocent charm of the original but it is filled with touching and fun remembrances, including numerous clips of the classic black-and-white series, especially with father Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont died shortly before this movie was made). And there are numerous nostalgic references to the first series.
Newcomer Janice Kent plays Mary Ellen, while Corey Feldman and John Snee play Beaver's sons Corey and Oliver, respectively. Eric Osmond is perfect as Eddie Haskell Jr. - he and his father are two highlights of this movie. Ed Begley Jr. re-creates Whitey, and Joanna Gleason plays Beaver's wife Kimberly. (When the series started, there were a several cast changes of the Cleaver grandkids, and Richard Deacon died and had to be replaced as Mr. Rutherford).
There is significant to make the story and setting feel contemporary -- maybe too much -- Larry Mondello has become a turban-wearing Hare Krishna called Vishnu, Richard is into the fitness craze of the day, and the early 1980s Supertramp hit Take the Long Way Home is played near the beginning (along with Simon & Garfunkel's At the Zoo and others).
Mathers and Dow have not grown into strong actors and Mathers may be the weakest aspect of this movie, along with some over-done writing, but Ken Osmond and his son Eric are terrific as the same-old wise-cracking Eddie Haskell and his chip-off-the-block offspring. And there is plenty of nostalgic warmth and homages to make this quite enjoyable for any fan of the original series.