Yogi Bear

Slight Picnic


17 December 2010| No Comments on Yogi Bear     by Sean Chavel


Good as a babysitting instrument for ages 5-10 but slap-me-stupid for anyone older. Yogi Bear is a feeble vehicle for the famously rotund cartoon character originated by Warner Bros. The only attributes in Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) is his penchant to steal food and eat. Not much else is generated in his character other than wanting to eat. His buddy Boo Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake) is a skeptical hanger-on but always tags along anyway. These computer animated creatures are amalgamated with humans who treat them indifferently, and the cooperative understanding between species is not silly but witless. In fairness, the 3D effects are better than the standard 3D of late such as employing picnic items to fly at you from the screen. But that hardly salvages how lightweight and prepubescent the rest of the movie is content with being.

For this shabby story, an evil mayor (Andrew Daly) wants to shut down Jellystone Park while Park Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) and documentary filmmaker Rachel (Anna Faris) try to save the nature preserve by attracting civilian visitors. These two also get involved in a nerdy romance.

How improbable it is for a city mayor to also have supremacy over a national park as to sell it to industrial loggers – whom we never see. Mayor Brown also promises the people $1,000 in return (tax return?) once the operation goes into effect. Ranger Smith and Rachel have one week (not a proposition election more) to stop the cutting down of the forest. Yogi Bear and Boo Boo want to participate in saving the national park so it doesn’t interrupt their simple ways of living without, of course, making a wreck out of the operation. Park Deputy Jones (T.J. Jones) is the numbskull turncoat who will sabotage their efforts because the Mayor offers him a Ranger promotion.

Even for dumb movie characters, Deputy Jones takes the icing on the cake for stupid, stupid characters. You might go as far as to hate actor T.J. Jones just for putting on such a demeaning caricature of the gullibly stupid. According to my notes, Jones was featured in “Cloverfield,” “Extract,” and “She’s Out of My League.” I think I remember him in at least one of those movies, and I am also sure that any of those movies could have survived without him. Do the movies really in that much need to cast transparent imbeciles?

Ranger Smith is a well-meaning putz on the other hand, but still a putz. Even when he has not one but two ideas on how to save the park, he manages to blow his initial chances. Yogi Bear has to be smarter than the average bear to step in and save the day. Midway in the plot, he water skis for the amusement of the general public (and wrecks). For the finale, he flies a two-seater plane of his convention and then rafts in river rapids to evade the mayor’s evil servicemen. Those are the highlights of visual chutzpah.

The inanity of the plot and foolishness of the characters will not bother kids looking for comfort food entertainment. Kids will giggle not just once but a dozen times when Yogi snatches park visitor’s picnic baskets. Kids will whoop it up when river rapids sprays and food particles spritzes the screen in 3D. Kids will titter in laughter when Yogi dances to “I Like Big Butts.” The rest of us will recall how the cartoon was probably funnier for its time. Moreover, it is easy to get tired of Aykroyd’s endlessly bellowing, over-hearty line deliveries. But Timberlake does create sugar-sweet simplicity with his Boo Boo voice but that can only take you so far.

If you take the kids be ready to sit it out in the lobby.

82 minutes. Rated PG.


Film Cousins: “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle” (2000); “Kangaroo Jack” (2003); “Garfield: The Movie” (2004); “Open Season” (2006).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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