Making the Grades
AT AGE 11, BEARY BARRINGTON (voiced by Haley Joel Osment) is starting to realize he is different from his big brother Dex (Eli Marienthal). Maybe it's his lack of freckles, the hairy snout or the tracking collar found amongst his baby mementos. (Incidentally no one else seems to be bothered by the co-existence of humans and walking, talking bears.)
When confronted at dinner, his parents (Stephen Tobolowsky, Meagen Fay) adamantly deny he's adopted, but that doesn't ease his concerns or stop his brother's incessant teasing. Faced with a load of questions, Beary packs his bags in the middle of the night and sets out in search of his heroes, The Country Bears.
Unfortunately, like numerous musical bands before them, The Country Bears broke up and went their separate ways years ago. The little runaway is convinced it's his destiny to reunite the band when he discovers that their once famous performing venue, Country Bear Hall, is facing the wrecking ball unless someone comes up with the money to pay off the mortgage. With fantasies of a benefit concert to save the hall, the young fan persuades Henry, the Bears' manager (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) and Roadie, the band's driver/drummer (M. C. Gainey) to round up the rest of the boys.
But not all of the old gang is ready for a reunion. With less than a week to pull it off, Beary and Henry have to smooth a lot of ruffled fur in order to get Ted, Fred, Trixie, Big Al, Tennessee and Zeb on board the Hiber Nation Tour bus and back to Bear Hall before the local banker (Christopher Walken) calls in the demolition crew.
Based on characters from the Disney theme park attraction, Country Bear Jamboree, the film showcases plenty of animatronic characters, voice actors and musical numbers that resemble more of a variety show. Real life performers Elton John, Queen Latifah, Don Henley, Willie Nelson, Brian Setzer and a host of other tuneful talent also make cameo appearances.
With very little content issues other than name-calling, parents will find barely anything to contest in this film except a very predictable plot.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Country Bears.
Realizing that he is adopted, Beary runs away to find out who he really is. What better avenues are available to help an adoptee find his or her birth parents? Did Beary’s human parents love him any less because he was adopted?
Beary’s mother did baking when she was anxious. What are some ways that people cope with problems or worries in their lives? What do you do that helps you relax or deal with stress?