"Beary Good Toe-Tappin' Fun"
What You Need To Know:
You might think a movie about a bunch of singing bears sounds kinda silly, but that’s just the point. Happily, the filmmakers and actors have decided to take the musical performances seriously while at the same time having fun with the silliness of it all. The performances are lively, and the singing and musical execution are excellent throughout the movie. Best of all, THE COUNTRY BEARS is an enjoyable, funny romp that teaches the importance of family and friends staying together.
(BB, V, A, M) Solid moral worldview with pro-family theme; no foul language, although there are a few dangs and darns and man makes crude musical sounds with his hand; slapstick violence such as crashing through stage floor, barn falls, car chases, boat crashes, and getting sucked through car wash, plus man brandishes gun during kidnapping; no sex; no nudity, but some very brief, non-salacious flashing of female midriffs and girls wear women’s cut T-shirts during dance number; visit to honky tonks with bottles of booze and people drinking cola-colored drinks and honey, and jokes about bears drinking too much honey; no smoking; and, heroes free kidnap victims.
THE COUNTRY BEARS is shameless, toe-tappin’ fun, fun, FUN for the whole family! Inspired by the “Country Bear Jamboree” attraction at Disneyland, it provides a different kind of entertainment for moviegoers who might be getting a little weary of the typical Hollywood summer fare.
COUNTRY BEARS opens with a musical montage of the last concert of the Country Bears band. After years of popularity, the band members have decided to break up. Years after their breakup, 11-year-old Beary Barrington (voiced by Haley Joel Osment of THE SIXTH SENSE and A.I.), the Bears’ biggest fan, is having trouble fitting in with his human-looking family.
Egged on by his older brother, Dexter, who keeps calling him “Doofus,” Beary finally comes to the conclusion that he might be adopted. After all, as Dexter himself is all too willing to point out, Beary doesn’t look at all like the rest of the family. He’s much more furry, for instance. Furthermore, his baby picture shows a Forest Ranger holding Beary up by his paw! Dexter and Beary seem to be the only ones in the family, however, who take notice of Beary’s ursine appearance.
Beary’s parents admonish Beary and Dexter. They tell their boys that being a family means putting up with one another’s differences. Beary’s father tells them that everybody feels different at one time or another. For instance, at one of the casual days at work, he felt out of place because he mistakenly wore a tie that day. Everyone has a “higher purpose” in life, Beary’s father adds.
Beary’s still not satisfied, though, so he runs away from home looking for his higher purpose. He decides to visit the Country Bear Hall where his idols, the Country Bears, got their start. When he gets there, he finds that a mean banker, played by Christopher Walken, wants to foreclose on the place and tear it down. Beary convinces Henry, the bearish owner of the Hall, that the only way he can get the money to save the Hall from destruction is to reunite the Country Bears in another concert.
Beary and Henry take the old Country Bear tour bus to find Ted and Fred Bedderhead, Zeb Zoober, and Tennessee O’Neal, and convince them to help save Country Bear Hall. Meanwhile, Beary’s parents send out a couple goofy policemen looking for Beary. The policemen wrongly think Henry has kidnapped Beary. They hamper Beary and Henry’s efforts to bring the band back together. In between all these shenanigans are a few foot-stompin’, toe tappin’ musical numbers, including a musical contest between one of the Country Bears and real-life rockabilly guitarist Brian Setzer. Other famous music stars also make a cameo appearance, including Bonnie Rait, Don Henley of the Eagles and Elton John.
You might think a movie about a bunch of singing bears sounds kinda silly, but that’s just the point. Happily, Disney and the filmmakers have decided to take the music seriously while, at the same time, having fun with the silliness of it all in the rest of the script and the production designs and performances on screen. All of the actors and voice talent do a fine job, including the extremely talented Haley Joel Osment. The result is an entertaining concoction that will delight children of all ages, even perhaps some jaded teenagers.
Although the new songs used for the movie are not really great pop songs, they are very good ones. The performances are lively, and the singing and musical execution are excellent throughout. In the middle of the story is a fabulous production number at a restaurant with singer Jennifer Paige and some marvelous dancers. Their number brings back the infectious joy of Hollywood musicals of the 1940s and 1950s.
Best of all, THE COUNTRY BEARS is an enjoyable, funny romp that teaches the importance of family and friends staying together.