The Country Bears is a 2002 live-action film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, based on the Disney attraction Country Bear Jamboree. It was Disney's third movie based on a ride or attraction, following Mission to Mars (2000), and followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and The Haunted Mansion, both released in 2003. It was released on July 26, 2002.
Beary Barrington (Haley Joel Osment, singing voice by Elizabeth Daily), a young bear raised by a human family in a world where humans and talking bears coexist, attempts to trace his roots. He meets up with the Country Bears, a long-since broken-up band, a parody of bands like the Eagles. Beary helps the Country Bears reunite for one final concert, while searching for who he truly is.
Thanks to Beary, the Country Bears realize how wrong they were to break up, which they did due to various petty arguments that escalated, and Beary returns home to his family who he realized truly do care about him, even his brother who somewhat bullies him. The Bears, after reading an essay Beary wrote about them decide to do the concert to save Country Bear Hall, the place at which they used to perform, but refuse to do so without Beary who brought them back together.
They go to get him and his family, but while Ted Betterhead, the band leader who was the most reluctant to reunite is apologizing to Beary and explaining everything to him, Thimple (Christopher Walken), the villain who wants to destroy Country Bear Hall, kidnaps the rest of the Bears.
Thanks to an idea from Dex, Beary's older brother, Ted, Beary, and Beary's family are able to track down and rescue the Bears and head to the concert together. Unfortunately the guy they hired to promote it was paid off by Thimble not to and didn't so it looks like they aren't going to be able to save the Hall after all. But then Big Al, the caretaker of the hall reveals that everyone was just out back and when he opens the door a massive amount of people rush in. The money from the concert is revealed to be enough to save the hall and the Bears perform the concert with Beary now as a member of the band.
- Christopher Walken as Reed Thimple (former name "Benny Boggswaggle")
- M. C. Gainey as Roadie
- James Gammon as Big Al (cameo)
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Mr. Norbert Barrington
- Meagen Fay as Mrs. Barrington
- Eli Marienthal as Dexter "Dex" Barrington
- Alex Rocco as Rip Holland
- Daryl Mitchell as Officer Hamm
- Krystal Harris as herself (cameo)
- Jennifer Paige as Waitress (cameo)
- Jess Harnell as Long-Haired Dude
- Willie Nelson as himself (cameo)
- Queen Latifah as "Cha-Cha" (cameo)
- Elton John as himself (cameo)
- Haley Joel Osment as Beary Barrington (speaking voice)
- Elizabeth Daily as Beary Barrington (singing voice)
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Henry Dixon Taylor
- John Hiatt as Ted Bedderhead (singing voice)
- Diedrich Bader as Ted Bedderhead (speaking voice)
- Brad Garrett as Fred Bedderhead (speaking voice)
- Stephen Root as Zeb Zoober (speaking voice)
- Toby Huss as Tennessee O'Neal (speaking voice)
- Don Henley as Tennessee O'Neal (singing voice)
- Candy Ford as Trixie St. Claire (speaking voice)
- Bonnie Raitt as Trixie St. Claire (singing voice)
- Alice Dinnean as Beary Barrington (face performer)
- Misty Rosas as Beary Barrington (in-suit performer)
- Allan Trautman as Fred Bedderhead (face performer)
- Kaepan Shaw as Fred Bedderhead (in-suit performer)
- Terri Hardin as Big Al (facial performer)
- John Alexander as Big Al (in-suit performer)
- Bruce Lanoil as Henry Dixon Taylor (face performer)
- Tom Fisher as Henry Dixon Taylor (in-suit performer)
- John Kennedy as Zeb Zoober (face performer)
- Tony Sabin Prince as Zeb Zoober (in-suit performer)
- Julianne Buescher as Tennessee O'Neal (face performer)
- Jody St. Michael as Tennessee O'Neal (in-suit performer)
- Terri Hardin as Trixie St. Claire (face performer)
- Denise Cheshire as Trixie St. Claire (in-suit performer)
- Michelan Sisti as Ted Bedderhead (face performer)
- Brian La Rosa as Ted Bedderhead (in-suit performer)
- "I'm Only In It for the Honey"
- "Where Nobody Knows My Name"
- "Straight to the Heart of Love"
- "Bear Mountain Hop"
- "Kick It Into Gear"
- "The Kid In You"
- "Let It Ride"
- "Just The Goin"
- "Can Love Stand The Test"
The bear suits and animatronic heads were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
The film was a box office flop; budgeted at US $35 million, it grossed only $16,990,825 in the United States and an additional $1,021,272 overseas. The film was released on DVD and VHS in December 17, 2002. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film only received a 30% positive rating. Reception to The Country Bears was mixed. Film critic Roger Ebert said "the formidable technical skills in The Country Bears must not be allowed to distract from the film's terminal inanity." Critic Sean O'Connell said of the film "Bears is bad. Not 'terrible filmmaking' bad, but more like, 'I once had a nightmare like this, and it's now coming true' bad." It had a few positive reviews but most criticized it for lacking entertaining acting or an enjoyable storyline.
- “Despite all the celebrities on hand, this spin-off from a theme park attraction still feels tired and hokey.”
- ―Rotten Tomatoes
Christopher Walken was nominated for a Razzie award for Worst Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.
- Both Diedrich Bader and Stephen Root previous costarred together in Office Space and Ice Age.
- Both Stephen Root and Toby Huss previously costarred together in Fox’s animated comedy series King of the Hill.