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Yogi Bear

I liked “Yogi Bear” growing up. I liked the quick slapstick humor and found it funny that Yogi and Boo Boo were always looking to steal a pic-a-nic basket. Of course, I liked a lot of crap growing up and now that I’ve seen the Yogi Bear motion picture, I wonder why I was ever amused with the character.

The story should be familiar to anyone who enjoyed the Hanna-Barbera cartoon growing up. Yogi (Dan Aykroyd) is a talking bear who, along with his sidekick Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake), roams around Jellystone National Park and snatches picnic baskets from unsuspecting visitors. In a failed attempt to give it a little more substance, the film adds a corrupt mayor who is going to close down the park and rezone it for his own gain. However, if Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) and his understudy, Ranger Jones (T.J. Miller), can raise close to $40,000 dollars by the end of the week, they can save the park. So they arrange a 100 year anniversary party that they hope will bring tourists from all around, but Yogi, failing to heed Ranger Smith’s warning to stay away, could end up wrecking the entire thing.

Also making an appearance is Anna Faris as Rachel, a filmmaker who wants to make a nature documentary. Early in the movie, she places a small, unnoticeable camera on Boo Boo’s tie, which plays a major part in the big finale that only the dumbest of viewers (or very small children) won’t see coming. Rachel also sparks an interest in Ranger Smith and so begins one of the biggest eye rolling romances of the year.

Maybe it’s because I was a child when I watched the cartoon and didn’t notice it, but I’ve suddenly noticed that Yogi Bear promotes thievery. I came to the realization as I watched film, seeing as how the word “steal,” or a variation of it, is used countless times. I’m almost embarrassed it took this long for me to see. Yogi’s whole existence centers on stealing things that are not his, yet he is idolized and his theft is shown as fun. I’m not necessarily insinuating that kids shouldn’t see this—besides, I watched the show as a child and I’ve never stolen anything in my life—but it strikes me as curiously questionable.

What’s more offensive than the idea that children may be getting the wrong idea from the Yogi character is how one-note he is. A central character whose only activity is stealing picnic baskets doesn’t leave much room for deviation. How many times must we see him rig up some contraption that will end in him being thrown somewhere or getting hit by something? The slapstick hijinks may work for the toddlers, but they’ll quickly tire the adult eyes in the audience.

It’s true that 3D is shaping up to be the new bane on contemporary filmmaking, but most criticism towards the format is when a movie is haphazardly up converted from 2D filming. If shot in 3D, the effect is usually better, but Yogi Bear proves that just because you go the smarter route, it doesn’t mean your product is going to look good. The 3D in Yogi Bear is awful, an unnecessary element to a film that is already wholly irrelevant. One of its few positives would have been the colorful visuals, but the tinted glasses made the whole affair extremely dark, effectively negating it.

In a sea of vapid idiocy, there is one shining element in Yogi Bear: Justin Timberlake. The man simply can do no wrong. He was beneficial to the best movie of the year, The Social Network, and he manages to impress even in this disaster, nailing Boo Boo’s voice perfectly. He is the sole reason Yogi Bear isn’t making it on my worst of the year list. Yogi may claim to be “smarter than the average bear,” but his movie is dumber than a rock.

Yogi Bear receives 0.5/5

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