Who's In It:: Tom Cavanaugh, Anna Faris, T.J. Miller and the voices of Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake
The Basics: Yogi and Boo Boo live at Jellystone Park and steal picnic baskets. They invent elaborate contraptions, including flying machines, to steal those picnic baskets. The ranger doesn't like it when they steal picnic baskets. He gets mad when they steal picnic baskets. Then come evil corporate land developers who want to chop down all the trees. They don't care about picnic baskets. They care about money. Then along comes Anna Faris. She also doesn't care about picnic baskets, but she does care about the ranger and talking bears who wear neckties. ("Those are so rare," she says, in that Anna Faris way that makes you laugh.) Then they all band together to save Jellystone Park from the bad people. They do this via a picnic basket-based defense strategy and Boo Boo's bow-tie-surveillance-cam. Sorry if I just spoiled the plot for you.
What's The Deal: The internet has been really angry about this movie, almost since it was announced, but more so in recent months as trailers and weirdly clueless ad campaigns made it ripe for mockery and derision. But guess what? This movie isn't for you guys. It's for four-year-olds. And on that level it's perfectly, adequately mediocre. The jokes are about Yogi's butt being paddled by railway posts and about farting and about accidentally setting off fireworks in the pursuit of good bear times. And that's the kind of stuff that very little kids love. And the reason they love it is because they've never seen it in a movie before. And the reason they've never seen it in a movie before is because most of them have never seen a movie before. Adult chaperone who drew the short straw? You can settle in for an 82 minute nap. Sounds good, right?
No Surprise/One Surprise: Any time Anna Faris is on screen being goofy--and she's always goofy and thank goodness for that--the forgettable script turns on its lights for a second. And then there's the moment when Yogi and Boo Boo shake their CGI buttocks to Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back." I'm not making up that part. It happens. And while it may sound horrible, I somehow still laughed out loud. I blame it on the fact that earlier that afternoon I watched Rabbit Hole, a heavy drama about a dead child. After a bummer like that you'll take what laughs you can get from the rest of your day.
One Major Beef: It seems lazy that Yogi is rarely shown enjoying the spoils of his picnic basket-stealing victories. Does it take more effort to animate a bear eating a pie? I expected a long roll call of foods consumed. But mostly he just compulsively steals like a person with an anxiety disorder instead of indulging in the sensual delights of actual snacks.