The Country Bears

Rated NR

Disneyland’s venerable Country Bear Jamboree attraction may have been cute, what with its nostalgically low-tech animatronic bears indulging in Hee Haw–style comedy and music and all, but the thin concept obviously needed a boost since the makers of this extravaganza have borrowed plot elements from such movies as Stuart Little and The Blues Brothers. Haley Joel Osment continues his voice-over career (which recently has included sequels to The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Jungle Book) by becoming Beary Barrington, the adopted bear-cub son of a human family. He hits the road to reunite his favorite singing group—the Country Bears, natch—for a gig to save Country Bear Hall from the clutches of a greedy developer, played with scenery-devouring evilness by Christopher Walken. This is fair-to-middlin’ G-rated entertainment, spiced up by cameo appearances by musical luminaries as Willie Nelson, Elton John, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Setzer and Queen Latifah. And you can’t fault the Country Bears for chops—John Hiatt lends his voice to one of the singing bears.

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