The worst part about yogi bear is that at no point during the film does the bear ever do yoga. Not a Downward Dog pose, not an Upward Bow pose, not even a Warrior One. That is blatant false advertising to promise yogi bear and not even deliver. I would pay to see a bear doing yoga. The free screening of the Yogi Bear movie was almost too much for me.
Now I have no attachment to the original cartoon but for anyone who did like it, this can’t be what you wanted. Yogi (voice of Dan Aykroyd) steals a few pic-a-nic baskets in the beginning, with Boo Boo (voice of Justin Timberlake) in tow. They never explain why they talk, only that Yogi’s smart, by which they can only mean he’s mastered Hooked on Phonics. Then it becomes a generic Hollywood plot, an excuse to hang the comedy on, but not a good excuse and not good comedy.
This is one of those movies where they have to save the park by raising enough money to stop the evil politicians. Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly) has run the city out of money by buying expensive suits, so he wants to sell Jellystone Park to developers. With Nate Corddry as his Chief of Staff, you end up watching two professional comedians exercising their Comedy 101. They’ve got this and it’s a paycheck so they just show the kids why they’re evil and fiddle with car windows.
Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) throws a firework gala to attract visitors and sell enough season passes to pay the park’s operating costs. This is his only attempt to save the park, so it’s not even a formula that sets up many trials and errors This is it, and Smith tries to keep Yogi and Boo Boo hidden, but Yogi waterskis while twirling a flaming baton so “hilarity ensues.”
There’s also a documentarian, Rachel (Anna Faris), shooting footage at Jellystone and making Smith goo-goo-eyed, and assistant ranger Jones (T.J. Miller) bumbling things up. Mayor Brown actually gets Jones to sabotage the park by promising him a job at the park he’s planning to tear down. Anyway, I’ll give you Ranger Smith but not four extra humans.
Yogi Bear is busy, loud and obnoxious. The 3D is gimmicky for kids with lots of nacho chips rubber bands and spit takes poking out of the screen. All the mugging and posing of the bears is just desperate. Every scene has to have humans bumbling, animated bears bouncing around and an obnoxious orchestral live-action cartoon score.
You can imagine Aykroyd and Timberlake doing the voices. Yogi sounds like he comes from a big comedy belly and Boo Boo is a tweaked up pop star sound. I’ll give it to Cavanagh, he goes all out with Smith’s embarrassing song and dance to Rachel. The best jokes are about butt thermometers.
At least it’s so predictable you know you’re in the home stretch when Yogi has to get Smith to come back to Jellystone. Sadly, it still takes forever to work out all this political nonsense, so you’re stuck for a full 90 minutes.