First thing’s first: Dan Aykroyd will always have a place in my heart for his work on Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers, and Ghostbusters. But what a remarkably horrific career he’s had since those halcyon days. When he hasn’t appeared in films such as Dragnet or I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, or pimped his past successes with Ghostbusters II (a sentimental guilty pleasure) or Blues Brothers 2000 (much, much worse), he’s had forgettable bit roles in several good movies. I didn’t watch Chaplin too terribly long ago, but I have no recollection of his appearance. You could make a case for Driving Miss Daisy or Grosse Point Blank, but me, I’m no fan of those films.
Now, though, Aykroyd has hit the bottom of the barrel, maybe even the bottom of the bottom of the barrel. If you are so inclined, watch this trailer for the forthcoming live-action adaptation of the classic Yogi Bear cartoons…
The desperate “PLEASE WATCH THIS PLEASE GOD WATCH THIS” preface sets you up for the horror to come. Then you see Anna Faris, and the horror inches closer. “I heard you had an unusual brown bear,” she says to Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh, whom Paul assures me has done good things). “A brown bear?” he responds, clearly color blind. She jogs his memory: “One that talks? Those are so rare!” We then see fuzzy feet from the rooftop, attempting to fish out Ranger Smith’s lunch pail. It backfires. This monster goes flying. He bounces back up, green porkpie hat still on his head. “I’m okay!” he calls, in Dan Aykroyd’s voice. This is the computer-generated Yogi Bear. To be sure, he is no Gooby, unlikely to provide children with nightmare fuel for a thousand years. But he is just as cute and cuddly as the CGI Scooby-Doo, which is not at all. Perhaps worst of all is just how awful Aykroyd is at imitating original voice actor Daws Butler. As he and Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake, again proving to be an oasis in the desert) steal pic-a-nic baskets, water ski, hang glide, and jump onto moving trains, Aykroyd yells in an impossibly dumb baritone, with absolutely no sense of timing or pitch or comedy.
The trailer admonishes you to, “Go wild, go Yogi,” but, surprisingly, I feel like doing neither of those things after viewing it. With the terrible CGI, the terrible acting, and the terribly stupid human scenes (which amazingly look even stupider than those with the cartoon bears), I can only imagine this will be a terrible film. If you are not yet quite sure, let me ask you this: Does a bear shit in the woods?
(Yes, and he shits prints of this film into your local multiplex on December 13. In 3D.)