THE COUNTRY BEARS - Awfully Good Movies (2002) Haley Joel Osment, Christopher Walken
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While audiences of all ages are delighting in the continuing misadventures of Paddington Bear in PADDINGTON 2, Awfully Good Movies is kicking off this new year with another kids’ movie about talking bears that is a bit more...unBEARable (*cue Roger Daltrey scream*), and its’ name is THE COUNTRY BEARS!
Yep, one year before they managed to make billions of dollars--and billions of movies--from adapting the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Disney had no luck adapting its theme park attractions into full-length motion pictures, and this film version of the Country Bear Jamboree from Magic Kingdom had young and old audiences alike wishing they were drinking at the biergarten in Epcot Center.
But it’s hard to see why kids wouldn’t love a movie where an evil banker played by Academy Award Winner (and future co-star of JOE DIRT 2: BEAUTIFUL LOSER) Christopher Walken plans to destroy the theater where the Country Bears’ now-defunct band used to hold their jamboree. Now it’s up to a little bear fan of the band, voiced by Oscar nominee (and future co-star of YOGA HOSERS) Haley Joel Osment, to travel across the country and get the band back together for a reunion concert that will save the theater from destruction.
Sure, it sounds a lot like THE BLUES BROTHERS, and much like that movie, it’s got a bunch of legendary musicians popping in for guest spots--Willie Nelson, Elton John, Queen Latifah, Don Henley and...Krystal Harris? But think more along the lines of BLUES BROTHERS 2000, except that not even the songs are all that good, and the production numbers they stage around them are even worse. Still, with a couple of good jokes scattered here and there, and Christopher Walken delightfully not giving a fuck, the movie is way better than it ought to be...though that ain’t saying much.
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