Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reviews In Space: The Country Bears (2002)


There are a bunch of bears that sing country music. Do you honestly need to know any more? Isn’t that enough to tell you that this movie is going to be ridiculous? Well, if it isn’t, here’s the poster.

Yes, that is a black bear with purple John Lennon glasses. Why do you ask?

Alright, first, a little backstory. After Mission To Mars, the first movie based off a Disneyland ride and moderate box office hit, Disney was apparently rushing to make movies based off of their theme park rides. One of those rides was Country Bear Jamboree, a stage thingy wherein frightening animatronic bears sing bad country music. Why the Disney execs thought this would make a good movie, the world may never know.

Anyhoodiddly, the premise. Some adopted bear kid named Beary (Wow, real creative name there, guys) who’s a huge Country Bears fan runs away from home because he needs to find his purpose in life or whatever. Eventually, he finds the Country Bear Hall, which is a concert hall owned by The Country Bears.

Now, wait a minute. I don’t know one band that’s popular enough that they get their own concert hall. Maybe somewhere there’s a concert hall named after The Beatles or Bob Dylan, but if that’s true, then that means these bears are as big as The Beatles or Bob Dylan. How in hell do a band full of bears get as popular as The Beatles?

Actually, how does a band full of bears even exist? Bear paws cannot do what human hands can! A bear can’t hold a goddamn fiddle! That’s just impossible!

In fact, how are bears even accepted into human society?! If I saw a talking bear, I would run away and commit myself to a mental institution, not sign it to a record deal!

In FACT, how do these bears talk and stand on their hind legs?!? As far as I can tell, there’s only a handful of these anthropomorphic bears, so what?! Are they mutants?! Did they come from the planet Ceres?! Did they come from an alternate dimension?!? I NEED AN EXPLANATION!

Yet, I know I’ll probably never get one, so I suppose I’ll have to move on. *sigh* Okay, so Beary finds Country Bear Hall, in which two of the five Country Bears reside. Now, this may be confusing, since there are only four bears on the poster. Well, from what I can gather, the fat bear is a friend of the Country Bears? I guess? I don’t know! This plot has more holes than the surface of the moon!

Anyways, if the Bears that still live in Country Bear Hall can’t come up with $10 Grand by the end of the week, the building is going to be demolished by a greedy banker, played by - CHRISTOPHER WALKEN?!?

How - what - why - Christopher Walken!

Yes, folks, Christopher Walken is in this. Now I ask you: What’s up with Christopher Walken ruining his career with bad movies like this? He’s a talented actor! I mean, first this, and then Gigli! Stop being in bad movies, Christopher Walken! Stop it. NOW.

Ahem. Sorry about that, I keep getting distracted. Anyways, Beary has the idea to get the band back together and put on a final concert to get the money, so Beary, the bear that’s not fat, and some guy with a pet chicken (What is this I don‘t even) take off in the Country Bear Bus to find the other three bears and recruit them back into the band. Thusly the most amazing film of the last 50 years, if not the most incredible motion picture of all time, begins.

So, in the Bears’ epic quest, they recruit one bear who’s a stage hand and who also happens to have no personality, except for inventing the stage dive. And he plays the harmonica. Yes, in this movie, a bear who plays the harmonica invented the stage dive. DID ANYONE EVEN WATCH THIS MOVIE BEFORE RELEASING IT?!?

Anyhowjigglydoo, our next bear is a marital therapist who’s still depressed because of his breakup with his girlfriend, Trixie. That’s pretty fucked up, man. Anyways, he says he can’t re-join the Bears, because “I can’t do it without Trix-AAAaaAAAy!” Of course, Beary finds Trixie performing next door, and Bear #2 joins.

Now, my favorite part of the movie is right here. The Bears are trying to convince Bear #3 to join, but #3 is convinced that no one cares about the Bears anymore. (Rhyme time!) Suddenly, their waitress comes over (they’re in a restaurant) and says “Hey, aren’t you the Country Bears?” and they’re like “Yeah.”

Then she proceeds to tell them about how they inspired her to become a famous musician. (She’s “Still working on it”, apparently.) “Yeah,” she says, “I even did a cover of your song Kick It Into Gear. Then suddenly, BOOM! The entire restaurant, chefs, waiters, and patrons alike, break into a highly choreographed dance sequence! I just love that. It’s even less plausible then High School Musical!

Well, needless to say, #3’s convinced. However, at this point, the police have caught up with the Bears, ‘cos they think that the Bears kidnapped Beary. So we get into a car chase, (which is actually surprisingly not terrible,) and eventually, the Bear-mobile pulls into a car wash. The police follow, which is a pretty bold move, considering that THEY COULD’VE JUST WAITED AT THE END OF THE CAR WASH FOR THE BEARS. God this script is dumb.

So, of course, the Bears get away. However, the police get pretty beat up in the car wash. Seriously, whenever I watch that bit I feel like I’ve been teleported into a Quentin Tarantino film. They get crushed, soaped, tripped, and thrown against a car window. It’s pretty frightening.

So anyways, they get to the house of Bear #4, but he’s not there, so instead the bears are greeted by - ELTON JOHN?!?!


WHY Elton John?!? WHY?!?!  Was your album really selling THAT badly that you HAD to have a cameo in THE COUNTRY BEARS?!? CHRIST, dude! Did you even know what movie you were IN?! Do you have no dignity?!

*deep breath*

Alright. Let’s . . . try to continue. So Elto-THE GARDENER. Yeah. The gardener. That’s it.

The gardener tells the Bears that #4 is still at some party. To my knowledge, he never tells them the address of the party, but they find it anyway. SOMEHOW.

Wait, wait, this part is great too. So, #4 basically flat out rejects the Bears’ request for him to rejoin the band. All the bears basically give up, and go back to the bus filled with woe. However, one bear (#4’s brother) won’t let this go by. So he goes up to his brother and politely asks again if he won’t rejoin the band. #4 doesn’t budge. So out of nowhere, BOOM!


So #4 reluctantly joins, thanks to the always opinion changing argument of crass unexpected violence. However, the Bears get into an argument on the bus ride home, until Beary comes in and speaks his opinion about how the Bears always said they were a family, but clearly they’re not, because his dad always told him that a family is a group of people who love each other and the Bears clearly don’t love each other.

“Wait!” shouts Beary. “My dad!” So Beary, having apparently remembered that he has a father, runs all the way back home. I don’t know guys, at this point the movie could do anything and I wouldn’t be surprised. There could be a scene of ice skating dinosaurs, and I’d just be like “Meh.”

So Beary gets home, and the VERY NEXT DAY, Bear #4 comes to his house and tells Beary how he wants Beary to be there for the final concert. Of course, Beary accepts.

So, all the Bears get to Bear Hall, and - there’s no one there. Apparently, the person who was supposed to advertise for the show got paid not to do it by Christopher Walken. And then, suddenly, hundreds of people rush into the hall. Somehow, the fat bear got enough people to come to raise $10 Grand. So we get a final (and awful) concert, and we get to hear Beary lay down a rockin’ guitar solo before the end credits.

So here’s the question: is The Country Bears a bad movie? Yes. Fuck yes. HELL yes. It is a terrible piece of dog shit crappy . . . bad . . . not . . . good . . . movie . . . film.

But can I say that I didn’t enjoy it? No. (Sorry for the double negative there.) It really is a prime example of a ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ movie. So here’s my diagnosis; Invite a few friends over. Buy some popcorn. And laugh harder then you’ve ever laughed. Not because the jokes are funny: because the movie is so awful.

A+ for entertainment, though.