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"THE COUNTRY BEARS"
(2002) (voice of Haley Joel Osment, Christopher Walken) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor None Moderate Minor *Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Mild Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A young, talking bear runs away from his human home and hopes to reunite a legendary country band of singing and instrument playing bears.
PLOT:
Beary Barrington (voice of HALEY JOEL OSMENT) is a fourth-grader who lives with his mom and dad (MEAGEN FAY & STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY) and older brother Dex (ELI MARIENTHAL). All is well except that Beary, a real-life, talking bear, doesn't feel that he fits in, especially when his human brother constantly reminds him of just that.

Accordingly, Beary decides to run away from home to Country Bear Hall where his idols - The Country Bears - performed up until 1991 when they disbanded. Unfortunately, stern bank president Reed Thimple III (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN) is anxious to tear down the hall since the Bears owe $20,000 on it.

After Henry (voice of KEVIN MICHAEL RICHARDSON) informs the newly arrived Beary about all of this, the youngster comes up with an idea. If they can get the band to regroup, they can put on a concert, raise the necessary money and save the hall.

Henry is pessimistic about the notion, but Beary convinces him and soon the two of them and bus driver Roadie (M. C. GAINEY) are off to find the former members including Tennessee O'Neal (voice of TOBY HUSS), Zeb Zoober (voice of STEPHEN ROOT) and brothers Fred (voice of BRAD GARRETT) and Ted Bedderhead (voice of DIEDRICH BADER).

As they set out to find and convince the former members, human police officers Hamm (DARYL "CHILL" MITCHELL) and Cheets (DIEDRICH BADER) are trying to find Beary and soon believe he's been abducted by Henry and the others. With time running out before the demolition commences, Beary and the others travel across the countryside doing what they can to get the band back together and save the hall.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The notion of talking and singing bears might be enticing to some younger kids, particularly if they've been subjected to the film's marketing, but teens will probably turn up their noses at this offering.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
For not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
It's debatable whether kids view non-human characters as role models, but here's a brief look at them and their human counterparts.
  • BEARY is a fourth-grade bear who lives with a human family yet feels that he doesn't fit in. Accordingly, he runs away from home and then tries to convince the Country Bears to regroup so that they can save their former concert hall.
  • STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY plays Beary's human father who tries to help him understand that being different is okay.
  • MEAGEN FAY plays Beary's human mother who becomes comically distraught after he runs away from home.
  • ELI MARIENTHAL plays Beary's sardonic human brother who repeatedly goes on about how Beary doesn't fit in with their family.
  • CHRISTOPHER WALKEN plays a stern banker who's determined to demolish the concert hall any way possible (which includes abducting the bears at tranquilizer gunpoint).
  • DARYL "CHILL" MITCHELL and DIEDRICH BADER play two bumbling police officers who think Beary's been abducted and try to find him.
  • M. C. GAINEY plays the band's roadie who drives them around the countryside and tries to elude the police who are chasing them.
  • HENRY is the first bear that Beary convinces and is the front man/bear in their effort to get the band to regroup.
  • FRED is the slow-talking harmonica and bass player in the band.
  • TENNESSEE is a weepy marriage counselor who only agrees to rejoin the band after he gets his "girlfriend" back.
  • ZEB is the fiddler who owes a large debt to a honey bar owner.
  • TED is the current wedding singer who's reluctant to rejoin the group, but eventually does.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this G-rated film. Several characters have bad attitudes, including a banker who's determined to demolish the Bear Hall (and uses what looks like a tranquilizer gun to threaten some characters) and a human boy who repeatedly tells his bear brother that he doesn't fit in with the family (that causes the fourth grader bear to run away from home).

    Some slapstick style material is present, while one bear punches his brother in the face and knocks him out. Some imitative behavior (including some phrases) is also present, while a few moments might be a tiny bit tense or suspenseful to some younger viewers. A man is briefly seen in his boxers, some women wear midriff-revealing tops and a few people drink. Beyond that, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content.

    Even so, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see bears and people in a honey bar having what's apparently honey poured from taps (instead of beer).
  • Some characters have drinks in a bar.
  • Some people have champagne at a wedding reception, while a woman has wine in front of her at her table.
  • Ted complains that all the band did in the past was drink, blubber and stare into space (although he doesn't say what they were drinking).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Dex has both types of attitudes toward his brother, Beary (repeatedly calling him "doofus") and keeps telling him that he's different, doesn't fit in and doesn't belong in the family (he even says that Beary is wrecking the family).
  • Reed is a stern banker who's determined to have Bear Hall torn down and eventually goes to extreme measures (holding a gun on the Bears, etc.) to make sure that happens.
  • Roadie and the Country Bears don't pull over when chased by the police and instead try to and do elude them.
  • Henry tells a white lie about Ted agreeing to rejoin the band.
  • The Bears crash a wedding.
  • We see that the band's promoter is in cahoots with Reed and accepts a bribe for not promoting the concert.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Ted tries to hold on while riding in a boat towed behind the Barrington's vehicle. While doing so, he occasionally hangs part of the way off the boat and in one such moment, must get out of the way of a fast-approaching and large truck in the oncoming lane.
  • Reed briefly uses a gun (that appears to be of the tranquilizer variety) to threaten the Bears after abducting them.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Laser gun: Seen in an old Country Bears cartoon on TV.
  • Handgun: Used by Reed to abduct and briefly threaten the Bears (but it appears to be a tranquilizer gun based on what look like tranquilizer darts Reed wears around his chest).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "(Way to go) Doofus," "Little weasel banker," "Jeez," "Arm pit farter" (what a Bear calls a man who makes farting sounds with his hand under his armpit) and "Holy moly."
  • A human singer has a tattoo on her shoulder and appears to have a stud in her nostril.
  • Some young women wear midriff-revealing tops.
  • We see a flashback to a student playing "music" by making farting sounds with his hand under his armpit We later see and hear an adult doing the same.
  • Roadie and the Country Bears don't pull over when chased by the police and instead try to and do elude them.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Some briefly suspenseful and adventurous music plays in one scene.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A singer shows a tiny bit of cleavage.
  • We see Reed in his boxers in his office (he's dressed normally up top).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Beary wonders if he's adopted and feels that he doesn't fit in with his human family.
  • Beary runs away from home because he feels that he doesn't fit in and his parents then worry about him.
  • We briefly see a middle-aged couple visiting Tennessee, a marriage counselor (all played for laughs).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The Bears' comments that one can be different and still fit in.
  • Mr. Barrington tells Beary that it's not unusual to feel different and that such differences lead to higher purposes.
  • Beary runs away from home because he feels that he doesn't fit in, and the police then think that he's been kidnapped.
  • Roadie and the Country Bears don't pull over when chased by the police and instead try to and do elude them.
  • VIOLENCE
  • One of the bears - during a concert - accidentally breaks through the stage floor after jumping down onto it and being too heavy for its supports.
  • Mr. Barrington hits Dex on the head several times with a newspaper for being a smart aleck.
  • A barn collapses after Roadie drives the tour bus out from underneath it.
  • Fred dives off a stage and lands hard on the floor, but we don't see the impact (repeating what he used to do in concert with an audience to catch him).
  • Reed repeatedly drops a huge weight down onto a scale model of Bear Hall, crushing it.
  • Some slapstick style material has Officer Cheets and then Hamm being yanked from their cruiser in the middle of a car wash (after they lower their windows and lean out) and being tossed and yanked around inside the facility and slammed down onto the cruiser, etc. It ends with them being blown into the air by the immense dryers, and then falling hard to the floor when they stop blowing (we don't see the impact).
  • In an old Country Bears cartoon on TV, an animated character fires a laser gun and we also see a space ship crash behind an object and blow up (all done in low budget animation).
  • Fred punches Ted in the face and knocks him out so that he and the others can abduct him and convince him to rejoin the band.
  • Reed briefly uses a gun (what appears to be of the tranquilizer variety) to threaten the Bears after abducting them.
  • An out of control boat flies through the air, crashes through the side of a building and knocks down a locked cell gate.



  • Reviewed July 23, 2002 / Posted July 26, 2002

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