Whatever he gets up to in his spare time – shilling “Ghostbusters 3” and its bizarre array of potential female leads like a crazed beggar man, contemplating selling his organs on Amazon Marketplace, downing a glass of whiskey and sleeping pills whenever a re-run of “Spies Like Us” hits the airwaves – Dan Aykroyd can take solace in the news that at least “Yogi Bear 2” is becoming a reality. While many were decrying last year’s original as a prelude to nuclear holocaust, the film itself managed to net over $200 million worldwide and hence Coming Soon reports that humanity is getting treated to take another suckle on the smoky teat of Yogi. Let this be a lesson to exhausted parents with diminished expectations everywhere.
The limited appeal of the Hanna Barbera character and original Papa Grizzly in a single film was self-evident (he’s a blundering dickhead rivaled only in the children’s cartoon stakes by Foghorn Leghorn), so where the franchise can go from here is anyone’s guess. The low point of the first film had the must-be-masochistic Anna Faris, who was either recovering from an aggressive bout of facial surgery or off her head on street drugs throughout the entire production, force-fed spam by an enthusiastic naturist whilst an animated bear shook his butt to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” on her porch, but it had the decency to at least be mostly inoffensive from that point onwards. By the same token, though, it’s hard to think of a kid’s film more willfully banal that’s been produced in recent years. Barring some unforeseen incident where his frontal lobe is removed by space aliens, Justin Timberlake is unlikely to return as Yogi’s partner-in-crime Boo Boo, though any official involvement of “talent” from the first film has yet to be announced. Certainly comedian T.J Miller who takes potshots at his turn as the hapless Ranger
Jim Jones with every opportunity he gets, should only take the gig if he’s looking for new material for his act.
Writing duties this time around have again fallen to established duo Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin who do, at least, seem to be getting better with practice, though any filmography that begins in the depths of hell with “Surviving Christmas” and continues by way of “The Tooth Fairy” is never going to be the stuff of legend. The pair were also responsible for this year’s brightly-colored but otherwise somnambulant “Rio”, which apparently also counts for something. It’d be nice to have an official release date for the film so most reasonably-minded adults could schedule to be out of the country or make plans to sign up for NASA’s space program, but instead “Yogi Bear 2” threatens to strike somewhere in the not-too-distant future like a global “28 Days Later“-style rage pandemic we cannot wholly contemplate or as yet understand. You’ve been warned.