Yogi Bear

The world’s most famous picnic basket-stealing bear has returned from a cartoon hibernation to star in his own animated full-length 3-D film. But can the simple humor of a now CGI-animated Yogi (Dan Aykroyd) and his cohort Boo-Boo (Justin Timberlake) make the transition from classic cartoon history to modern big screen expectations? Not well.

When so many children’s films contain layers of advanced humor making them enjoyable for adult audiences, Yogi Bear does the opposite. Not only will the film’s unmotivated plot and obvious jokes bore the intellect of parents forced to sit through the film, it also lacks any real draw for children besides the extremely physical 3-D effects.

Of the better elements of the film is the cast including veteran screen goofball actress, Anna Faris. Faris adds to the film her particular brand of over-reactive comedy as Rachel the environmentally-minded love interest of likeable human hero Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh). Also dotting the cast is T.J. Miller as career=motivated Ranger Jones and Andrew Daly as the extremely corrupt Mayor Brown.

Even with such a dynamic cast of actors who all do a decent job, the film simply falls through the cracks. All of the simple one-liners and classic banter between Yogi and Boo-Boo cannot save a film that so completely lacks innovation or interesting plot. Moreover the combination between live action film and CGI seems awkward and entirely unnatural. As do the ongoing ridiculous justifications for Yogi and Boo-Boo’s human characteristics, a question that is hinted at and never directly answered.

Still the use of big 3-D visuals and vivid colors is likely to keep young children amused, particularly in the form of the film’s adorable frog-mouthed turtle. But for parents looking to share the Yogi Bear of their youth, the film remake will prove to be a less than an acceptable substitute for the original television show.

2 out of 5 stars