Why did I enjoy “Yogi Bear” as much as I did?
Honestly, it’s a horrible movie. It’s a prime example of everything that I hate about Hollywood, about movies, about commercialism. It’s a movie that was factory-built to make money and to lower our (already pathetic) standards for entertainment. But…it’s also kind of awesome, in ways both ironic and straight-forward.
“Yogi Bear” is based off of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, where a plump bear named Yogi and his son Boo Boo get into various adventures, including mostly trying to steal picnic (“pic-a-nic”) baskets from unsuspecting campers in Jellystone Park. The film is, no joke, pretty much only that. Sure, there’s a subplot about a park ranger who falls for a nature documentarian, there’s a villain in the form of a smarmy local mayor who wants to tear down the park they inhabit. But “Yogi Bear” lacks any sort of any basic plot structure, or at least one that makes sense. It’s just a big, gooey mess with little bits of here and pieces of there.
So why have I gotten such a massive kick out of “Yogi Bear”? Basically, because of how openly, endearingly stupid it is. I almost feel bad for mocking it to the degree that I have (and do), because its as straight-forward a shot of idiocy as I’ve ever seen in a movie. Seriously, where else would I hear such killer lines as “Extravaganza? More like extrava-lame-za!” Where else would I see the primary conflict of a film be a squabble over a turtle? Where else would I see an action sequence where men in vehicles are pursuing two talking bears in a makeshift airplane?. The answer, friends, is nowhere.
Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake lend their voices as Yogi and Boo Boo (I giggle typing this) and both give an appropriate if somewhat overt enthusiasm to their roles. Being in the goofy mood I was in when I saw this, most of Timberlake’s lines cracked me up. Here’s a guy that was absolute dynamite in “The Social Network”, being reduced to voicing jokes about how salad gives him “gas problems”. Can’t I find just a little bit of cynical, ironic entertainment in that?
And really, that’s what “Yogi Bear” was for me. Most adults will look at it and be horrified, most kids will look at it and be gleefully delighted. But I was a bit of both, which begs the question: Was I delighted because it horrified me, or was I horrified because it delighted me? D