Film Review: Big Bear

Tired, unfunny bacholor party/revenge comedy.
Specialty Releases

It would be gladsome to say that this very flat bachelor party romp finally seals the lid on any more emanating from Hollywood, or the indie world, for that matter... but it won’t.

Can we please call a moratorium on these “wild and crazy” movies already? The genre has truly jumped the shark with Big Bear, which revolves around groom-to-be Joe (Joey Kern, who also wrote and directed the movie), who is reluctantly stuck in a mountain cabin with his besties Nick (Tyler Labine), Eric (Adam Brody) and Colin (Zachary Knighton), all of them far more into raunchy, laddish high-jinks than he. The reason for his glumness is the fact that his fiancée has just dumped him for another guy (Pablo Schreiber). And, just because he’s their very best bro, Joe’s buds kidnap the usurper with the plan to wreak a terrible vengeance on him.

Despite the very hard-working efforts of its cast, this basic comedy of cruelty never takes off, due to the tiredness of its premise—boys behaving badly again?—and increasingly farfetched plotting, culminating in an actual and quite ridiculous face-off between Joe and a grizzly bear. Schreiber, who’s done some impressive New York stage work, comes off as the most sympathetic character and you can’t really blame Joe’s erstwhile lady for running off with him, if only to escape his idiotically immature friends. But, as this so-called villain hasn’t really done anything villainous or even particularly obnoxious, there’s no sense of justified payback in his mistreatment, and Joe & Co. merely come off as mindlessly brutal thugs.

Debuting director Kern keeps things moving at a brisk clip, which is about the most that can be said for his helming. But, for anyone with any kind of sensibility, the film gives itself away in a noxious manner early on. When it’s suggested that Joe punch his ruthlessly subdued rival in the face like a hundred times, he protests, mentioning the cops. His buddies scoff, smugly crowing that no cop would ever, ever not sympathize with him, being the dumped dude just hours before his wedding. “Yeah,” you can’t help thinking, “imagine if you weren’t all white.”

Click here for cast and crew information.