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Preview review: 'Yogi Bear' may be a sandwich short of a full picnic basket

July 30, 2010 | 11:53 am

YogiSometimes all it takes for a movie to be a hit is a cute cartoon animal interacting with a live-action star (see under: "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel;" worldwide gross $440 million).

Judging by that example, a modern CGI/live-action take on the popular cartoon "Yogi Bear" would seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, the trailer for the November release suggests something other than good.

Yogi is one of America's beloved animated characters, a status he attained primarily via his 1960s television show, during which he spent much of his time nabbing picnic -- or "pick-a-nic" -- baskets from campers hanging out in Jellystone Park.

In the modern version, we find Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) and his sidekick Boo Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake) wandering merrily around their stomping grounds at Jellystone, until the two animals find out that the place they call home is being shut down. The two animals decide to partner with Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) to stop the sale of the park's land.

The trailer begins with the introduction from a jolly Aykroyd, excitedly inviting viewers to check out "this exclusive look at 'Yogi Bear!' " and goes downhill from there.

We're obviously not kindergartners, but we have a feeling even they'd be baffled by some of the bits in the trailer. Yogi falls down after trying to steal Ranger Smith's lunch. Yogi and Boo Boo "kick it" to some jams on the stereo. A pie is thrown in Yogi's face.

Yogi, that goofball!

The film, which is directed by "Journey to the Center of the Earth" filmmaker Eric Brevig, seems to be missing the original cartoon's silliness. The modern Yogi doesn't appear to embody the carefree nature or obliviousness that made the first one so lovable. (The hokey-looking animation doesn't help either.)

While Timberlake seems to pull off Boo Boo's iconic tone, we're not as enthused about Anna Faris, who plays a nature documentarian breathlessly searching for Yogi. As usual, she's ditzy and wide-eyed, but the act seems more suited to "The House Bunny" than a kids' movie.

Then again, maybe we're just not the target audience for this kind of thing.

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: The poster for "Yogi Bear." Credit: Warner Bros.

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