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The Country Bears
2002 - G - 88 Mins.
Director: Peter Hastings
Producer: Jeffrey Chernov, Andrew Gunn, John G. Scotti
Written By: Mark Perez
Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Christopher Walken, Stephen Tobolowsky, Alex Rocco
Review by: Joe Rickey
   
A young bear by the name of Beary (Voiced by Haley Joel Osment) finds out that he was adopted into the human family he has always known. He then decides to get together with bears of his kind and attempt to resurrect their singing career and the Country Bear Hall where they used to sing often before they were separated because of egomaniacal differences and other disagreements termed creative differences. The film also stars Christopher Walken.

So far there has been movies based on TV shows, novels, comic books, and now Disney has decided that their longtime theme park attraction, The Country Bear Jamboree, is fit for a film adaptation. I am somewhat surprised that it took them this long to turn one of their popular theme park attractions into a feature length film. Also in development is an adaptation of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Is their first such film a good children's film that make the young ones giddy with excitement? Well, to put it bluntly, The Country Bears is bland and stupid that functions like a trite commercial instead of an actual movie.

The acting is wooden and uninteresting by the cast. Osment says all of his lines as if he has just been hypnotized and is in a trance. Monotone would be the word to describe his line delivery. Christopher Walken doesn't have much to do in his role and even his immense talent can't lift the film. The CGI/puppetry used for the bears is fine for such a film and the movements are more natural than was expected. The Jim Henson Creature Shop puts in a superb effort once again.

Direction by Peter Hastings is serviceable but wholly unexciting and sitcomish. Basically, he just points and shoots. This film definitely doesn't try to be anything but run-of-the-mill. The film doesn't contain enough substance to overshadow the pedestrian directorial style. The plot hasn't much depth even for a children's film. Having nothing for adults to enjoy when they take their kids also hampers the lite plot.

Overall, The Country Bears is a sub par kid flick that is sure to be forgotten soon after its release despite the power of the Disney brand name attached to it. The reason for this is a drab and trite storyline coupled with some wooden performances and terribly bland writing and a directing style that is anything but unique.

 
Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

 
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