Yogi Bear
dir Eric Brevig
prd Donald De Line, Karen Rosenfelt
scr Jeffrey Ventimilia, Joshua Sternin, Brad Copeland
with Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Tom Cavanagh, Anna Faris, TJ Miller, Nathan Corddry, Andrew Daly, David Stott, Greg Johnson, Christy Quillam, Patricia Aldersley, Josh Robert Thompson
release US 17.Dec.10, UK 11.Feb.11
10/US Warner 1h20
Yogi Bear
Smarter than the average bear: Cavanagh, Boo Boo and Yogi

aykroyd timberlake faris
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Yogi Bear There's no real reason for this live action/animation hybrid version of the classic cartoon besides the fact that digital effects allowed them to do it. But at least it's rather undemanding good fun while it lasts.

At Jellystone Park, Yogi Bear and his sidekick Boo Boo (voiced by Aykroyd and Timberlake) drive Ranger Smith (Cavanagh) crazy with their picnic-stealing antics. But just as they reach a kind of agreement, things are complicated by the arrival of nature expert Rachel (Faris), who wants to make a documentary about the talking bears. Meanwhile, the local mayor (Daly) decides to sell the park to logging companies to pay the city deficit, luring Smith's sidekick Jones (Miller) in as an accomplice. It's going to take a miracle to save the park.

The script doesn't even try to be clever about the way it sets up every single plot point, heavily telegraphing each "twist" while setting up gags so obviously that we can see the punchlines coming from miles away. Each scene is almost painfully contrived to push the characters into the next wacky action sequence. And the characters couldn't really be any thinner than this. Certainly, Aykroyd and Timberlake never get much chance to invest Yogi or Boo Boo with any real personalities.

But there's also a slightly deranged stream of humour glowing through the film, which pops up in the dialog and some of the set pieces. Even the environmentalist themes feel like they're being lampooned. To call it innuendo or irony would be a huge overstatement, but it's goofy enough to just about keep adult viewers from losing the will to live while the children giggle at all of the clunky slapstick. And there's rather a lot of that.

Visually, the movie is technically efficient but not hugely inventive. There are some superb 3D gags scattered throughout the film, and the actors interact believably with the animated characters. But the basic set-up is painfully absurd when taken out of the cartoon world, and the filmmakers never quite make it work. They do, however, keep things lively and silly, and sometimes even sweet.

cert pg themes, some vulgarity 30.Jan.11

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