Nate Corddry, Andrew Daly
- Rated PG
- Buy the BD
All photos © Warner Bros.
Reviewed by David Medsker
ogi Bear” is not a good movie, but it’s also not without its good points. It’s refreshingly innocent, with none of the snark and cynicism that dominates pretty much all aspects of pop culture today. (Imagine someone taking a movie from 1976, and updating the special effects.) Unfortunately, it’s also terribly naïve, written not just for children but from the mindset of one, where everyone is either good or evil with no in between. It also boasts some of the laziest 3D work to come down the pipe in ages. Spit takes, ahoy!
Jellystone Park is not bringing in the customers like it once did, and the presence of a certain pic-a-nic basket-stealing bear named Yogi (Dan Aykroyd) is not helping matters. When the local town’s mayor (Andrew Daly) hatches a plan to rezone Jellystone and sell the land in order to get the city out of debt, Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) tries to counter the mayor’s efforts with a drive to sell enough season passes to get the park, also in debt, out of the red and off the chopping block. Will Yogi accidentally sabotage Ranger Smith’s efforts? Let us count the ways.
You can see why Warner Bros. took a gamble on this. They saw Alvin and the Chipmunks printing money for Fox, and thought Yogi could tap the same vein. Their approaches, however, couldn’t be any more different. The “Chipmunks” movies had grown-ups that acted like real grown-ups – or were at least allowed to operate in shades of gray – while “Yogi Bear” knows no gray area, and has Ranger Smith sing a song to cute filmmaker Rachel (a what-the-hell-is-she-doing-here Anna Faris) that sounds like the “shimmy shimmy coco puff, shimmy shimmy rock” song that Tom Hanks and his best friend sing to each other in “Big.” Anyone over the age of six is going to see right through this movie and eat it alive.
As odd as it looks in the credits to see that the voice of Yogi was supplied by Aykroyd, he and Justin Timberlake actually do nice work as Yogi and Boo Boo, given what they have to work with. The other actors were pretty much hosed from the beginning, but on the plus side none of them is asked to do too many embarrassing things on screen outside of, you know, being on screen. The 3D is little more than spit takes and snot rockets, so if you must see this movie, find a theater showing it in old-school 2D and save yourself some money.
“Yogi Bear” has good intentions, but so does everything else that paves the road to hell. There was a way to make this movie smarter without sacrificing its purity. Ask Pixar, they make one every 18 months.