Country Bears, The
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +4

THE COUNTRY BEARS can best be described as a country-rock-and-roll musical. Based on Disney Worlds audio-animatronic Country Bear Jamboree, its lively musical numbers feature the voices of John Hiatt and Don Henley as two of the singing bears, and Queen Latifah plays a bartender at a honey bar. Bonnie Raitt provides the singing voice for a female bear. Even Willie Nelson and Elton John make brief appearances as themselves. In the movie, 4th grader Beary Barrington (voice of Haley Joel Osment) runs away from home after his older brother Dexter (Eli Marienthal) tells him he is adopted and, in fact, is a bear not a human. Beary decides he belongs with the Country Bears, a musical ensemble that disbanded years earlier over artistic differences. But Beary hopes theyll reunite to save legendary Country Bear Hall, where the bear band got its start. Children from age 4 on up will root for Beary in his quest to find out where he belongs and laugh at the bumbling cops, Hamm and Cheets (Daryl Mitchell and Diedrich Bader) as they chase the missing little bear across the country.

Interspersed with music, laughs and slapstick mayhem are strong messages of family love, acceptance and forgiveness. A harrowing car chase, two bears fighting, and Hamm and Cheets tossed around an automatic carwash provide humorous action for the young and restless. Bearys middle class human parents insist on treating their adopted bear as a human being, but Dexter resents his little brother and has no patience with their over-protective desire to make Beary feel loved. But Beary looks up to Dexter and accepts his brothers cruel honesty with love. Once his little brother disappears, Dexter realizes that he has truly lost a family member. He also learns that "real" is not always what you see with your eyes, but also what you feel in your heart. Dad reminds Dexter and Beary that family means the people who love you no matter what. With no sexually suggestive elements or foul language, THE COUNTRY BEARS is fun for the whole family.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Buena Vista (Walt Disney Pictures), 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Few times Moderate (bear socks another in jaw; police chase endangers but doesnt injure anyone; policeman trapped in carwash)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None (tavern sells honey not beer or alcohol)
Other: Family defined as people who love you; themes of acceptance and forgiveness
Running Time: 88 minutes
Intended Audience: Ages 4 and older

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