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Big Bear (2017) Review

Big Bear is a 2017 comedy about a guy who reluctantly has his bachelor party even though his fiancé just dumped him for someone else.

Boys will be boys and there’s nothing like the excuse of one of them getting married that seems to be all the reason needed to let loose and party. Such is the kicker for Joey Kern‘s Big Bear, a sometimes very funny, sometimes odd mishmash of quirky day-gone-bad tropes that has plenty of potential and a good cast.

Joe (Kern) drives up to Big Bear to meet his three best friends Eric (Adam Brody), Nick (Tyler Labine), and Colin (Zachary Knighton), pals from college who are all dedicated to Joe’s coming nuptials by staging the ultimate bachelor party. They’ve got rules and everything, promising to make this the night that will fill him with so much regret he’ll want to stay married forever. Problem is, just before driving up, his fiancée Jess (Ahna O’Reilly) left him for another man. That doesn’t stop them from going all out though, and Eric decides to help Joe confront his emotions by secretly kidnapping the other man, Jess’s new squeeze (Pablo Schreiber) and tossing him in the basement. This leaves Joe in a tight spot but also a chance to figure out who he is what he really needs to do.

Kern takes on more than double duty here as writer and director, as well as casting himself in the lead in a pretty standard bro-comedy that is stocked with a number of funny moments where grown men devolve into blithering idiots for the love of some beer and casual drugs before it escalates into a potential nightmare. It certainly earns a few hearty laughs, crossing over and back again a few times into some admittedly dark territory as Joe battles with what to do with the man wearing his robe. He’s surprised by what he learns from both the ‘dude’ and himself and these bits continually twist Joe’s intentions. Meanwhile, his decidedly off-center friends seem determined to make the most of the kidnapping, Eric suggesting he make the guy dig his own grave, you know, just to scare him.

All of this makes for a mix of ups and downs, and it becomes a little hard to stay with tone as it keeps Joe’s story mostly plausible and everything else pushing him to insanity. As the start hints of something different, a light, raucous boys gone wild movie, it veers hard left at the halfway point, becoming a whole different beast, even as it takes no risks, telegraphing its third act without much mystery. Echoing a bit of Shane Black, Big Bear tries hard to be edgy and comical, succeeding on many levels but is overpopulated with unnecessary characters, including a ditsy stripper (Heidi Heaslet) and a sardonic cop (Toby Huss), the latter of which is a subplot that adds nothing to the story.

Still, Big Bear has some good moments and there’s not a bad performance in the lot, with Kern strong and Schreiber very funny. It’s not as messy as it should be and lacks the razor sharpness it should, yet it’s a pretty reliable comedy with good intentions.

Big Bear (2017) Review

Movie description: Big Bear is a 2017 comedy about a guy who reluctantly has his bachelor party even though his fiancé just dumped him for someone else.

Director(s): Joey Kern

Actor(s): Joey Kern, Pablo Schreiber, Tyler Labine, Adam Brody

Genre: Comedy

  • Our Score
User Rating 3.5 (2 votes)
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