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Movie Review

Fourth-grader Beary Barrington—a bear cub raised by humans in a world where talking bears and people cozily coexist—runs away from home after his older brother, Dex, tells him he’s adopted. Beary heads to Tennessee to find his birth family and along the way he decides he belongs with his heroes, the Country Bears—a famous music group that disbanded in the early ‘90s. Not long after arriving, Beary finds out that bank president Reed Thimple III plans to demolish Country Bear Hall, where the band used to play, because the Bears owe $20,000 on it. Beary persuades Henry to find the old band members so they can have a benefit "reunion" concert to raise money for the hall. But they’re in for trouble when bumbling police officers Hamm and Cheets try to chase down the gang, believing they’ve cubnapped Beary.

positive elements: Beary’s optimism and eagerness to reunite the band are inspirational. Henry decides to forgive the band’s old promoter, Rip Holland, for his dishonest dealings and give him another chance. Dex’s change in attitude toward his brother and acceptance of him as part of the family are refreshing. Discouraged over the gang’s attitude, Beary realizes that the Barringtons are his family because they love him. When the Bears read Beary’s journal and learn that Beary looks up to them as heroes, they realize the need for attitude change and reunite for Beary’s sake. Ted apologizes to Beary for yelling at him and for putting down the idea of "family."

sexual content: Young women are shown throughout the movie wearing cleavage-revealing tops—especially at the "honey bars." While performing, Krystal Marie Harris ("The Kid in You") and Jennifer Paige ("Kick It Into Gear") wear low-cut, tight outfits. Reed is shown in his boxers at the office.

violent content: During a concert, one of the bears breaks through the stage floor. Mr. Barrington hits Dex on the head with a newspaper a few times for having a smart mouth. Henry yells at Beary for bringing up the reunion idea. When Roadie drives the tour bus away, a barn collapses. Fred does a stage dive and lands with a painful thud. A laser gun is shown in an old Country Bears cartoon on TV. Reed practices demolishing a miniature model of Country Bear Hall in his office. Officers Hamm and Cheets are sucked into an automated car wash cycle after they roll their windows down. When Reed bearnaps the gang, he threatens them with a gun, revealing his long-plotted vengeance. Fred knocks Ted out so they can force him back into the band. When Ted is riding in a boat being pulled by the Barrington’s van, he comes close to colliding with oncoming traffic a couple of times, and then crashes through the building where the Bears are held hostage.

crude or profane language: No profanity. Putdowns include "stupid," "dumb kid," "doofus," "little weasel banker" and "arm pit farter." The expression "holy moly" is also used.

drug and alcohol content: Bears and humans go to honey bars to get honey poured from taps instead of beer. People drink champagne at a wedding reception while one woman has wine at her table. Ted gripes about the band’s past, saying that all they did was "drink, blubber and stare into space" (he doesn’t say if they were drinking honey or the hard stuff).

other negative elements: Dex treats his brother badly because he’s different—and he’s disrespectful to the police officers. Roadie doesn’t pull over when he’s being chased by the police. Henry tells a white lie about Ted joining the band. A boy and man make flatulence sounds with their hands under their armpits to make "music." Rip Holland—the band’s so-called promoter—takes a bribe from Reed.

conclusion: A cute bear who saves Country Bear Hall and reunites a band finds out who he really is—and who loves him. While Beary’s eager search is endearing and friendship and forgiveness are primary themes, it would have been nice if the portrayal of disrespect for authority—and a number of bared navels—could have been eliminated for a G-movie targeted at 4-year-olds. Besides, the lack of creativity and humor in this grade-school version of The Blues Brothers will be hard for parents to bear—and even the kids may want to leave early. The Country Bears should have been left to hibernate at Disney World where they belong.

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Credits

Rating

G

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Author

Cast

Christopher Walken as Reed Thimple; Stephen Tobolowsky as Mr. Barrington; Eli Marienthal as Dex Barrington; Megan Fay as Mrs. Barrington; the voices of Haley Joel Osment as Beary Barrington; Diedrich Bader as Ted Bedderhead; Brad Garrett as Fred Bedderhead; Toby Huss as Tennessee O’Neal; Stephen Root as Zeb Zoober; special appearances by Don Henley, John Hiatt, Elton John, Queen Latifah, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt and Brian Setzer

Director

Peter Hastings ( )

Distributor

Walt Disney

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Reviewer

Traci Pedone

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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