Monday, July 11, 2011

Yogi Bear

Directed by Eric Brevig.
2010. Rated PG, 80 minutes.
Dan Aykroyd
Justin Timberlake
Anna Faris
Tom Cavanagh
T. J. Miller
Andrew Daly
Nathan Corddry

Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you should. If I so choose, I can walk up to any or all of my three children and beat them mercilessly. I think we can all agree that I shouldn’t. Sure, the technology exists to make a live-action movie about a computer generated talking bear and his sidekick based on a late 1950s/early 1960s cartoon. That doesn’t mean it should be done. It should be done if you have an interesting and/or funny story to tell or at least an updated take on the characters. It should not be done if you’re just going to recycle the same garbage from thousands of other crappy movies in an apparent cash-grab. Guess which approach is taken by the full-length feature film Yogi Bear?

If you must know, the plot really is the same as countless other movies. It’s so derivative, to call it paint-by-numbers would be insulting to people who paint by numbers and consider themselves real artists. Step 1: Introduce lovable, but dopey and mischievous protagonist. Of course, that’s Yogi (Akroyd). Step 2: Put said character in an environment he or she loves so much they couldn’t imagine life without it. Often, this is a house or a rec center or something that can reasonably be considered a landmark. In this case, it’s Jellystone Park. Step 3: Put said landmark in such financially dire straits it’s in danger of being foreclosed upon and/or destroyed at a fast approaching deadline. Here, it’s a week. Step 4: Have the effort to take away the landmark spearheaded by a greedy bank executive or a greedy politician. We get Mayor Brown (Daly). Step 5: Have the protagonist band together with his or her friends to either enter a contest and win or otherwise raise enough money just in time to save the landmark. Yogi and his cohorts opt for the latter. Don’t even try to tell me you haven’t seen this movie already. Just in the last six months or so I’ve seen it at least three times. It was billed as Step Up 3D, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 and Stomp the Yard: Homecoming. It sucked each time. I can assure you this keeps the streak alive.

You know what? All might be forgiven if this were funny. Sadly, it’s so far from funny, well, it’s not even…funny. The extent of the humor here is Yogi steps on, touches or leans against something and gets hit in the face, knocked down, flung through the air, etc. Verbal jokes are boiled down to him saying “pic-a-nic” instead of “picnic” over and over and over…and over again. Occasionally someone farts, references farting, or makes a farting noise. To be blunt, this movie thinks kids are dumb. Sure, some will laugh at first. However, after about ten minutes they will realize the well is dry. I’ll give the slow ones fifteen before the chuckles stop.

Believe it, or not, this could’ve still been salvaged. Had there been some real nostalgic value or the kids in the target audience already had a connection with the characters that might’ve been enough to save the day. The problem there? We’re talking about a 50 year old cartoon that’s been largely forgotten! Most of the kids this flick is aimed at never heard of Yogi Bear until they started seeing commercials for this…this…this odious pile of digital excrement! Most of their parents are too young to be Yogi fans! Because of this trash and Marmaduke and the Garfield movies and the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies I am dreading the day when morbid curiosity gets the best of me and I just have to see for myself exactly how bad the movie for one of my favorite 80s cartoons, The Smurfs turns out. Trust me, it’s going to be bad. You heard it here, first. And just in case we’re not clear on this, the fact that this Yogi Bear movie exists makes the world suck just a little bit more.

MY SCORE: 0/10

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