Friday, May 7, 2010

Ursa horribilis

I'm not quite certain what to say about the movie The Two Little Bears, which is airing tomorrow morning at 10:30 AM ET on the Fox Movie Channel.

Eddie Albert stars as Harry Davis, an elementary school principal with some problems. He's angling to get a higher-up job within the school district, but he's got two young sons who have a rich fantasy life. They're obsessed with bears, to the point of wearing bear costumes when it's not appropriate, and wanting to become bears. One day, they visit the town's local gypsy, who tells the two boys there's a magic cream out there that can turn them into bears, if only they rub it all over themselves, chant a certain spell, and believe they'll become bears. The kids respond by finding their older sister's (Brenda Lee; more on her later) freckle remover and thinking that's the cream. Amazingly enough, the boys do turn into bears, although nobody believes them, even after they go missing. Eventually, Dad thinks they might be telling the truth, even if this may cost him his job.

I can't help but wonder what anybody was thinking when this project was given the green light. The story is worse than any B movie from the 1930s that I can think of, and the production values look like a bad television sitcom. The two young boys aren't very interesting, and as for Brenda Lee, she wasn't there for her acting ability. There were quite a few male teen singing idols in the late 1950s and early 1960s who got movie roles from studios who thought casting them would bring in the younger viewers: Fabian and Frankie Avalon come to mind; never mind Elvis Presley, who was actually a better actor than he's normally given credit for. Brenda Lee was one of the young female singing stars of the day, and you have to think that she got cast because of her popularity from the world of music. Indeed, she gets a song to sing here. Not that she could act very well, though, but at least she's not that big of a character.

There are some movies that are so bad they're funny, but The Two Little Bears isn't one of them. It's the sort of movie that might interest a six-year-old, but will probably make adults groan. On top of all this, the version the Fox Movie Channel they showed the last time it was on was a pan-and-scan version, making the image even worse. Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that The Two Little Bears isn't on DVD: who would buy it?

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