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The Country Bears
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this movie is rated G and has none of the usual parental concerns, they should be sensitive to some of the issues in the movie that may trouble children. Beary runs away, and his parents are frantic about his safety, but he doesn't let them know where he is and doesn't seem to miss them for most of the movie. Beary's human parents don't tell him the truth about his adoption. He's told about his origins very cruelly by his jealous brother. Some parents will regret having their children see a character "play" music on his armpit if it sparks some attempts at imitation.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
THE COUNTRY BEARS begins with some wit and style – a wood-burning credit sequence and "Behind the Music"-style clips about the beloved band's rise and fall. Their last series of concerts was called the "Hiber-Nation" tour. In a flashback, we learn the story of Beary (voice of Haley Joel Osment), a bear adopted by humans who runs away from home because he feels different. The Country Bears Hall is about to be torn down by wicked Reed Thimple (Christopher Walken). Beary decides and the only way to raise the money to keep it standing is to get the band back together.
Is it any good?
Less story than product placement, The Country Bears is based on a theme park attraction, but Disney World's robot bear performers just may have a better plot than this movie. This is basically "The Blues Brothers" with fur. But then it disintegrates into a dumb "get the band back together" story, as Beary reminds his former band mates about how close they all used to be..
Some surprising guest appearances by Elton John, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Don Henley, and Queen Latifah (Raitt and Henley contribute singing voices) and some lively musical numbers by Disney label artists provide bright spots. But the in-between doses of silliness and syrup just dragged. The kids in the audience loved the scene with the policemen caught in the car wash, though.
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