Netflixable? “Big Bear” is cut-rate “Hangover” filmed just outside LA


The rules for this bachelor party are simple.

“Number one, ‘Get drunk.’ Rule number two, ‘Stay drunk…'”

Mustaches are optional.

The whooping and chest thumping, bailing out of AA “because I need a break…I’m gonna go to that meeting Monday –Tuesday at the latest” all but drown out the groom’s endlessly interrupted, “I came down here to tell you guys…”

Because, hell’s bells — the marriage is off. Two weeks before the wedding, too. Bummer.

But when in Big Bear Lake, do as buddies who want to celebrate your continued bachelorhood do. Bars, shotgunned-beers, a stripper…

  “Big Bear” has drunken binges, stripper-administered spankings and a morning after, all the pre-reqs of a bachelor party movie.

Oh, and that offhand remark about what you’d like to do to the guy who stole your fiance? “Make him dig his own grave?” Your “boys” took that seriously.

Joe (writer-director Joey Kern) is our would-have-been groom. Eric (Adam Brody) is the seemingly sensible pal, though that black sticking cap is a give-away. Dopey Nick (Tyler Labine) is the unrecovered alcoholic “bear,” Colin (Zachary Knighton) is the embittered divorced guy who rarely gets to see his kids and is a little too happy to meet the stripper (Heidi Heaslet).

That dart they jabbed into Joe’s shoulder the night before? “Tough-love,” the only way to get the “truth” out of Joe.

And that “dude” in the baseball, hogtied and gagged on the floor? That’s “The guy. The GUY, man.” What do you say to the lad — or lads — who kidnapped the man who broke up your wedding?

“You’re WELCOME.”

Bit of a pickle, wot?

You can see the dilemma, how to untie the guy, extract a promise from him not to call the cops, say “Bygones” and move on.

Here’s where the movie finds some comic footing. The “dude” (Pablo Schreiber, brother of Liev, funny in his own right) doesn’t recognize Joe.

“You’re in my ROBE.”

And the cuckolder is, in every way, in every word out of his mouth, a massive Massengill. Duct-tape on? Victim. Duct-tape off? He’s all over-familiar and condescending, doubling down on provocation, analyzing Joe’s problems.

“You guys had issues. You hate her family. You’re scared of her dad.”

He’s actually relieved to see who took him, because “I thought it was work-related.”

Break out the car battery and jumper cables, the finger-nail pulling pliers, the shovel.

“You can’t just TAKE somebody and not pay the consequences,” the Dude protests, missing the irony his protest.

The funny lines are more grins than belly-laughs.

“Why do you have chloroform?”

“MOST people have chloroform.”

Torture? Really?

“I watched a video on Youtube.”


There are plenty of possibilities set up here, most of them blown. There’s no Mike Tyson, no Bengal tiger, no Vegas even.  There’s barely a hint of Kern’s funniest previous acting credit, “Bloodsucking Bastards.”

The picture’s turns towards touchy-feely are out of character. The menace in the situation dissipates with every passing minute, with every coincidental appearance by “the cop” (Toby Huss).

Take away the fear and you’re leaning on the funny. And it’s just not funny enough for that to work out.


MPAA Rating: TV-MA, profanity, violence

Cast: Adam Brody, Zachary Knighton, Tyler Labine, Ahna O’Reilly, Joey Kern and Toby Huss

Credits:Written and directed by Joey Kern. A Blue Fox release.

Running time: 1:27

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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