Pretty documentary filmmaker Rachel Johnson (Anna Farris) journeys to far off Jellystone Park to capture on camera the antics of the only talking bears in the park, Yogi (Dan Aykroyd) and Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake) with the help of Head Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanaugh). The park is bankrupt, though, and the nearby town’s unscrupulous and conniving Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly) comes up with a way to capitalize on the park’s closing and make a great deal of money – sell the foresting rights to the park. Ranger Smith and Rachel must come up with a plan to save Jellystone and all of its creatures in “Yogi Bear.”
Someone at Warner Bros. Pictures must have thought that recreating the long running television cartoon classic, Hanna-Barbera’s “The Yogi Bear Show,” was a good idea. What, now, with high tech CGI and 3D it has to be a cinch to brew something up. Unfortunately, any 30 minute episode of the TV show is funnier and more entertaining than this dull remake. It is telling that, at a promo screening of “Yogi Bear,” silence prevailed from child and adult alike. Usually, even a bad kids’ animation films can elicit at least a smile once in a while. Not so here.
Anna Farris and Tom Cavanaugh are squeaky clean cute with ever present smiles and looks of wonder over the splendor of nature, even two talking bears. They are let’s-put-on-a-show-and-save-the-park kind of folk and, to celebrate Jellystone’s 100th anniversary, they are going to stage a jubilee, attract thousands of new paying visitors and pay off the park’s debt. Of course, the scheming mayor and his toady chief of staff (Nathan Corddry) are going to ruin the jubilee and elicit the aid of naïve, ambitious assistant Park Ranger Jones (T,J. Miller), who they dupe into sabotaging the big show.
Oh yeah, all the while Yogi is devising bigger, more elaborate gadgets to pilfer his beloved pic-a-nic baskets with the help of sidekick Boo Boo. Yogi’s hijinks, as expected, threaten to ruin everything and lose the park to foresters who will lay the land barren. A happily-ever-after ending is expected, of course, so the tensions in “Yogi Bear” are benign. That pretty much sums up the film – benign and dull.
There is nothing entertaining or funny for the parents in “Yogi Bear.” Heck, there is little funny or entertaining – no bright colors, no cutesy songs – for the little ones it is aimed at. Do yourself and the kids a favor, rent the TV series – go for the earlier ones, first – and spend a Saturday night, and a whole lot less money, with the family, all snuggled in your home. Even Anna Farris cannot save the film. I give it a D.
Laura did not see this film.
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