Movie Review: ‘Yogi Bear’
Yabba-dabba-doo! Whoops, wrong Hanna Barbera cartoon. Yogi Bear seemed like an odd choice to bring to the big screen this year. Kids today have no recollection of the pic-i-nic basket bandit who resides in fictitious Jellystone park.
Furthermore, it was hardly a standout to those of us who grew up watching the show on Saturday morning cartoons. For me, the series never held any nostagic sentiment, I remember it with complete indifference.
For whatever reason, the portly bear (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) graces the big screen this weekend in a 3D adventure co-starring his pal Boo-Boo (Justin Timberlake), Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) and a documentary film maker (Anna Faris). If it is telling at all, I can barely remember a thing about the movie even though I saw it a few days ago.
There is nothing really wrong with the film, it just has a chronic case of the “blahs”. I left feeling that exact same indifference I felt for the cartoon series.
The threadbare plot pits Yogi and company against a greedy mayor (Andrew Daly) who is eyeballing a run for governor. In order to balance the budget, he proposes selling Jellystone to land developers at the cost of losing the pastoral landscape.
It’s amusing how evil the sole politician is in the film. I guess Hollywood likes to indoctrinate our children from a very young age.
The 3-D in the film is serviceable, though not essential. The film is bright and colorful (particularly for a 3-D film), and seemed to delight children in the audience. Yogi and Boo-Boo (and some of their forest pals) are cute, and the film does pitch a subtle environmental message, so there’s that.
The voice acting is average; I don’t think that Aykroyd or Timberlake bring anything ground-breaking to their roles. That’s not a knock, it’s just an observation. The human acting is painful, but it is on par to what you see on Sesame Street or any other live action show geared toward toddlers. Over-animated responses and slow enunciation are the norm. Trust me, nothing will get by your kids.
It is a bit odd to see Anna Faris and Andrew Daly in the film. Faris is known for her sexy dingbat persona, and the last time I saw Daly was in the very adult Eastbound and Bound. Seeing the two of them in such wholesome fare is quite jarring. But hey, when Katy Perry can proudly shake her ta-tas with Elmo, I guess anything is possible.
Truthfully this is one of those films that doesn’t offer a single thing for anyone over the age of eight. I don’t have a problem with that, but be aware of that before you take your kids. The movie is stultifyingly dull, and you should take some requisite steps before entering the theater in order to keep yourself from falling asleep. At a mere 80 minutes, the film felt three hours long.
That being said, I’d gladly do it all again, because my kids had such a great time, and sometimes, it’s all about the kids.
Here are some recommendations for making it through the movie:
- Take a double shot of espresso and/or Tequila just prior to entering the theater. Just pick your poison. I wish I had. A flask would not be unwarranted.
- Take a notepad and write out your Christmas list, grocery list, etc.
- Count the pieces of popcorn in your bag.
- Mentally cast judgement on the inferior parenting taking place all around you.
- To hell with it-succumb to the boredom and take a well-deserved nap.
- Watch this, and imagine how awesome it would be if the whole movie was like that ending.
- Immediately upon returning home from the movie, rent Love Monkey to remind yourself that Tom Cavanagh was once a promising and gifted actor.
Yogi Bear is rated PG, though I didn’t find anything objectionable in the film. Starring Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh, and T.J. Miller. Directed by Eric Brevig.
Tatum and Keely’s rating (my kids, aged 6 and 8 years) 5/5
My rating 2/5