Yogi Bear (2010)

I kept putting it off and putting it off.  Almost every time I went to a RedBox I’d see it, but lacked the courage to rent it.  Today I decided I would nut up and rent … Yogi Bear.  That’s right, I watched it!  Yogi Bear features the voices of Dan Aykroyd as Yogi and Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo, as well as the live-action performances of Anna Faris, Tom Cavanagh (who I know as JD’s brother from Scrubs), TJ Miller, and Andrew Daly.

Yogi Bear is the story of a bear, named Yogi.  He loves to steal pic-a-nic baskets.  He has a tiny friend named Boo-Boo and a pair of park rangers (Cavanagh and Miller) that constantly have to try to stop him from ruining the serenity of the park campers.  Then Rachel, a documentarian and animal lover, comes to Jellystone to shoot a documentary about Yogi and Boo-Boo by putting a camera in Boo-Boo’s bow tie (does anyone else predict that paying off in some way at the end of the movie?)  Ranger Smith (Cavanagh) and Rachel (Faris) then start falling for each other, Ranger Jones (Miller) feels like he’s paid his dues enough as assistant park ranger and is time for his promotion, and a corrupt mayor (Daly) takes advantage of that so that he can get rid of Smith, sell the park, and take the city out of the debt that he’s created.  Can Yogi save the day?!  …Yeah, of course.

Okay, the most surprising thing I can say to you about this movie right now is: … I didn’t think it was that bad.  Yeah, I said it.  I probably just lost a whole bunch of readers now, I guess, but I can’t tell you a lie, people.  But what I mean by I like it is not that I think you should all go out and rent it and watch it by yourself, I mean if your kid drags you to it, it’s not that bad.  Maybe this is just because I watched Alpha and Omega a little while ago, but this movie far surpassed my abysmal expectations to arrive somewhere around a mediocre movie.  There are actually a few solid chuckles to this movie.

I do have cast problems here though.  The first one has been something I’ve been going mad about for a while now.  What is the point in casting a famous actor for a voice acting role, especially if you’re going to have them sound nothing like themselves?  The point of a Justin Timberlake or a Brad Pitt (as heard in Megamind) isn’t really their voice, but their look.  So if you have them do a voice, it should at least be their own voice so people can say “Oh it’s JT!”  JT does a great job with Boo-Boo’s voice (as best I can remember), but they could have paid a whole lot less for some random voice talent.  And while we’re on the subject, I don’t remember if Yogi’s voice was always like it was in the movie, but it was really grating here.  I see a little news bulletin on Rotten Tomatoes that says they’re setting up for a Yogi 2: Electric Boogaloo, and if they go with Aykroyd again, he should reel it in a little.  As for the live-action cast: no complaints.  I love Anna Faris for reasons I don’t even comprehend, Cavanagh and Miller both do good jobs, and Andrew Daly is probably the redemption of the movie for me personified.  The biggest problem with the cast is; why didn’t I hear about any of them?  I had heard about Aykroyd and Timberlake from outside sources, and seeing Faris in the movie completely caught me off guard.  What’s the point in advertising for the movie if you’re not going to mention people that might drive people into the theaters?

And the worst part about this movie is the ending.  Not that the one they went with was the worst thing ever, but why did they not go with the much better, alternate ending that I saw on YouTube?  I would’ve howling loved this movie if they had ended it with the Assassination of Yogi Bear by the coward Boo-Boo ending, though you may have turned off parents and children.  Sometimes you just gotta do the unconventional thing though, Yogi.  That’s how art is made.  So, with the much less awesome ending they went with, I give this movie a “You may not hate it if your kids drag you to it” out of Apples.