The Country Bears

0
0
Subscribe to Haley Joel Osment alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th July 2002

Box Office USA: $16.9M

Distributed by: Buena Vista Distribution Compa

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Working Bear Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 56

IMDB: 3.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Haley Joel Osment as Beary Barrington (voice), Diedrich Bader as Officer Cheets / Ted Bedderhead (voice), Candy Ford as Trixie (voice), James Gammon as Big Al (voice), Brad Garrett as Fred Bedderhead (voice), Toby Huss as Tennessee O'Neal (voice), Kevin Michael Richardson as Henry (voice), Stephen Root as Zeb (voice), Christopher Walken as Reed Thimple, Stephen Tobolowsky as Norbert Barrington, Daryl Mitchell as Officer Hamm (as Daryl 'Chill' Mitchell), M.C. Gainey as Roadie, Alex Rocco as Rip Holland, Meagen Fay as Mrs. Barrington (as Megan Fay)

The Country Bears Movie Review


Never mind comic books and video games... Believe it or not, Walt Disney's The Country Bears is (to our knowledge) the first movie based on an amusement park attraction. What's next, It's A Small World: The Motion Picture? Maybe Journey Through The Hall Of Presidents? [No, but The Pirates of the Caribbean comes out in 2003. -Ed.]

In the film, a cub named Beary runs away from his human family to find his heroes, a defunct musical act dubbed The Country Bears. Beary knows he doesn't belong with the members of his foster family and is drawn by the promise that you can be "different" with the Bears, and still be accepted. But the Bears have more issues than an episode of Behind the Music. A sleazy banker (Christopher Walken) seeks to foreclose on Country Bear Hall if back payments totaling $20,000 aren't made immediately. Beary convinces the band to hold a reunion show to save their cherished performance hall. Unfortunately, getting the disgruntled musicians under the same roof becomes an unbearable challenge.

Entering Bears with low expectations helps. The consistent suspension of reality adds camp value, and the film boasts more cameos than Austin Powers in Goldmember, though most - including Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt - are plucked from the country music scene. The soundtrack mixes both country and contemporary selections, with artists such as Don Henley and Brian Setzer lending their singing voices.

But Bears is bad. Not "terrible filmmaking" bad, but more like, "I once had a nightmare like this, and it's now coming true" bad. Two inept cops on Beary's trail (played by Diedrich Bader and Daryl "Chill" Mitchell) do more harm than good, disrupting the languid road trip with exaggerated physical comedy that offsets the laid-back atmosphere and deliberate country style. Plus, the potential for a peculiar musical number is ever present, reminding us that Bears takes its inspiration from a show, not a pulse-quickening ride.

Which brings us to the Country Bears themselves. Constructed in Jim Henson's Creature Shop, the boxy, uncoordinated beasts elicit fear, not astonishment. Unlike the sharp, refined digital manifestations in Stuart Little 2, the Country Bears resemble the old school "man in a suit" creatures from early Godzilla flicks.

In this startling scenario ripped from The Twilight Zone, animatronic park attractions have come to life and assimilated themselves into our society ... and nobody notices nor cares. Actually, only one character, Beary's human brother Dex (Eli Marienthal), recognizes the utter weirdness of a human family adopting a bear cub and raising it as their own. But by preventing every other character in the film from finding fault in this, Country Bears creates an odd science-fiction paradox that it never overcomes.

Walken's presence certainly spices things up. It confirms my suspicion that in a world where bears can both talk and boogie down, Walken would be present. Along with Queen Latifah. Oh, and one of the bears would sound just like Haley Joel Osment.

You can take the bear out of the country but you can't take the country out of the bear.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Haley Joel Osment alerts

Comments

The Country Bears Rating

" Grim "

Advertisement

More Haley Joel Osment

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...

Advertisement

Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...

Advertisement