Yogi Bear is a delightful surprise

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      Featuring the voices of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake. Rated G.

      Let’s face it. Once you get past his addiction to stealing picnic baskets, the only thing Yogi Bear has going for him is a faithful sidekick and the same squished-in hat that Art Carney wore on The Honeymooners. It’s not much to go on. In fact, as far as Hanna-Barbera’s stable of cartoon icons go, Yogi is only slightly more captivating than, say, Huckleberry Hound. That’s why Yogi Bear, the new feature based on the exploits of Jellystone Park’s most famous resident, is such a delightful surprise. A charming mix of live action and computer-generated animation, the new and improved Yogi comes across like an obliging Walter Matthau covered in fur.

      Watch the trailer for Yogi Bear.

      Director Eric Brevig manages to preserve the feel of the old TV series while kicking things up a notch with a series of fresh twists that include the inventive use of 3-D. Yogi and his long-suffering pal, Boo Boo (voiced with nostalgic affection by Dan Ackroyd and Justin Timberlake, respectively), are still swiping food from the unsuspecting tourists of Jellystone Park. Their kindly friend, Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh), is only mildly exasperated by Yogi’s eccentric feeding habits. His attitude changes when the town’s unscrupulous mayor (nicely underplayed by Andrew Daly) hatches a plot to sell Jellystone Park to a developer. The mayor gives Smith a week to prove that the financially strapped park can turn a healthy profit.

      When Smith gets distracted by his attraction to a documentary filmmaker (Anna Faris), Yogi hatches a plot to save his natural habitat. Naturally, his plan backfires. But—thanks to the clever script—there’s plenty of fun along the way. You’ve got to love a movie where the socially conscious Boo Boo apologizes for the sartorial sin of wearing a pre-tied bow tie. His explanation? “Sometimes my mornings get a little rushed.”