Bachelor parties in movies never go well, do they? They seem to follow a three-step formula: they start with kernels of giddy excitement, then bubble over into insanity, resulting in hapless characters having to deal with the consequences. Such is the case for the new “bro comedy” Big Bear.
After having his heart ripped out by his now-ex fiancée, Joe (Joey Kern) amuses the idea of getting even with the home-wrecking hunk who broke up the marriage. His unpredictable friend Eric (Adam Brody) takes Joe’s rant to heart, finds “the dude” (Pablo Schreiber), and ties him in the basement of the party’s cabin in the woods – y’know, that old chestnut.
Big Bear earns points right off the bat for being a post-Hangover bachelor party comedy and not succumbing to being a Hangover rip-off. Instead of focusing on the wild night of debauchery and reprecussions, Big Bear hangs out during the period of hazy comprehension when a sign of gratitude is seen for what it really is – a kidnapping. The film has been written and directed by Joey Kern, an actor who usually finds himself in slacker comedies like these (Super Troopers, Grind), and he certainly knows this sub-genre well; from the goofy humour to the bromances. However, Kern receives assistance from a concentrated production, including a small yet well-utilized cast (himself, Brody, Tyler Labine, Zachary Knighton) and the blank slate setting of the outdoors.
As for criticism that could reflect his next feature, Kern needs more practice alternating between comedic banter and scenes of character. As a director and an actor playing the “straight man” routine, he’s able to build proper momentum with jokes and chemistry, but it all comes to a dry spell when the heart-to-heart’s kick into gear.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie