A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that We Bare Bears: The Movie is a 2020 animated movie version of the popular Cartoon Network television show. Expect some cartoon pratfall violence: vehicle chases and accidents and slapstick calamities. There's also some peril: The bears must escape a forest fire. The movie makes a few subtle comments on government policies about border crossings, immigration, and children locked in cages, which younger kids won't pick up on. The story satirizes the desire for internet fame, and how people (or, in this instance, cutesy/weird animals) measure success in terms of how many millions of social media followers they have. While disguised as hippies, the bears drive a van with a license plate that reads "FR33 LUV." The movie has positive messages about how it's OK to be different and to feel like you don't always fit in.
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What's the story?
In WE BARE BEARS: THE MOVIE, Griz (Eric Edelstein), Panda (Bobby Moynihan), and Ice Bear (Demetri Martin) have finally gone too far. After their attempt at making a viral video in order to become internet famous causes a series of calamities all over town, the bears decide that maybe it's best to leave town and go somewhere where they'll be welcomed and accepted for who they are. That place, of course, is Canada. But standing in their way is the seemingly unstoppable Agent Trout from the National Wildlife Control (Marc Evan Jackson), who believes that the bears need to be permanently kept away from human interaction. While trying to outrun Agent Trout, the bears end up at a rave held in a barn and filled with internet celebrity animals, who grow to like the bears despite their lack of internet fame, and vow to help them get to Canada. When the bears arrive at the Canadian border, they must find a way to either get into Canada even though they lack passports, or stand up to Agent Trout and show the world they can be so much more than misfits who unleash mayhem everywhere they go.
Is it any good?
This is a cute movie-length version of the popular Cartoon Network television show. The humor includes the slapstick pratfall violence of classic cartoons as well as satire about the desire to be "internet famous." There are some positive messages on how it's OK to be different, as well as some deeper and more subtle comments about government policies on immigration and the militarization of law enforcement. It's a story that can be as thoughtful as it is silly, and for that reason, it's a movie that can be enjoyed by kids, tweens, teens, and adults, if not for the same reasons.
What's somewhat disappointing, however, is the lack of any real breakthrough over-the-top comedy. It's especially surprising, considering that the cast is made up of many venerable figures and rising stars of the alt-comedy scene. Not that there aren't any funny moments -- there are -- but a cast of this caliber raises the expectations, and quite often these expectations aren't met. While it is a good movie, this lack of real-deal "LOL" moments is what keeps We Bare Bears: The Movie from being something that rises above standard contemporary animated fare intended for older kids and their dry-humored parents. Nonetheless, it's a fun, if formulaic, journey involving viral video fails and jokes "uhboot" Canada.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages. What does We Bare Bears: The Movie say about trying to fit in and measuring your worth by your number of social media followers?
The violence here is exaggerated and silly. Do you think this type of violence is OK for kids, or is it still harmful? Why?
How does the movie find humor in the desire to be "internet famous"? Why do many people want this kind of fame?
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