UnNews:Ebert: Yogi Bear is shit in the woods

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18 December 2010

By Roger Ebert
Chicago-Sun Times

My verdict: No stars

Please excuse the crudeness of the headline, if you are still really that squeamish. It is simply a parody of the old rhetorical question, "Does a bear [relieve himself] in the woods?"

What does a bear's excrement have to do with this week's films, you ask? Warner Bros. has released a live-action/CGI film based on the classic Hanna-Barbera property, Yogi Bear. You know, the smarter-than-the -average bear who says things like "HEY-a, Boo BOO, how's about a pic-a-nic bask-EET?" in the worst John Wayne impression I have ever heard in my entire life.

I couldn't get clearance from Warner at press time, so here's a picture I took last year of a real bear.

It's even worse in this film, as Dan Aykroyd takes over the role from the late Daws Butler as the once-lovable bear. Are all SNL cast members doomed to the hell of voicing horrid CGI versions of classic characters (Bill Murray as Garfield)? What's next -- Al Franken as Dilbert? Kevin Nealon as Charlie Brown? Chevy Chase as Dagwood? I'd love to hear Chevy Chase curse out his boss again, like in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. If anybody had to imitate Yogi's John Wayne imitation, it should have been Jeff Bridges, who will be playing the Duke later this month in the remake of True Grit -- and who stars in this week's most bearable release, Tron: Legacy.

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And Justin Timberlake, fresh off his Oscar-buzz performance in The Social Network, is the new Boo Boo. Certainly, he doesn't need the money. He did the film because of the high art in resurrecting a beloved character that need not be resurrected. I'd rather hear him and Andy Samberg sing "[Male Organ] in a Box" for 90 minutes than endure this cinematic garbage again. In fact, I'd rather hear Bryan Cranston and Fred Armissen sing another SNL favorite for 90 minutes straight, "I sent a bottle of sparkling apple juice to your house. Did you get it?"

I have a confession to make. I didn't bother to see this film; I was unable to because I was stuck in a long line for Tron: Legacy. And I had just come back from seeing Unstoppable. I'm actually glad I didn't contribute eight dollars to see Yogi Bear. I've only seen trailers and things of that nature, and it's not a pretty picture. The CGI looks beyond fake. Come on, even on Blender you can create realistic hair and fur. The special effects in the original Tron are far more impressive that the ones that Yogi Bear looks to have.

All I know about the film is that Yogi and Boo Boo are bears in Jellystone Park and Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanaugh of TV's Ed) always gets angry at Yogi's hijinks, especially the theft of "pic-a-nic" baskets. I have no desire to see this film unless somebody pays me the salary of all principal actors combined.

My verdict: Wait in line to see Tron Legacy. You'll thank me later.

Yogi Bear
No stars
Rated PG
80 minutes
Starring: Tom Cavanaugh, Ana Farris, and the voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake