Review: 'Big Bear' Has Its Moments But Gets Lost In The Woods

Its common practice for close friends to get together to celebrate an upcoming marriage by throwing a Bachelor or Bachelorette party for the soon-to-be bride and groom. It’s also commonplace for friends to try and cheer each other up after they suffer some heartache after a break up. What would happen if somehow the two events merged together? Well Big Bear manages to give you a glimpse into what this wacky situation would look like.

Joe (Joey Kern) was only two weeks away from marrying Jess (Ahna O’Reilly) – the girl of his dreams. Everything was going as planned until the morning of his bachelor party when Jess sits him down and tells him she is in love with someone else. Not knowing what to do or where to go, Joe hops in his car and heads to Big Bear Lake where his three friends were waiting to celebrate his upcoming nuptials.

Joe’s three closest friends are Nick (Tyler Labine), Eric (Adam Brody), and Colin (Zachary Knighton). Each of them has their own quirks, but they all mesh well together. Nick is a recovering alcoholic who is five years sober, but will find any excuse for a drink and a break from AA. Eric doesn’t believe in marriage and may have some sinister tricks up his sleeve. And then there is Colin, the divorced friend who hates his ex-wife and is still wallowing in despair. Joe is clearly a mess when he meets his friends at the cabin, and shortly after learning about the bachelor party rules (mostly drink so much that you hate yourself and are ready for marriage), he tells them the bad news about the engagement being off. Nick, Eric, and Colin guilt Joe into staying the night and partying with them, a choice he might grow to regret.

After some badgering from his friends about what he hypothetically would do to the adulterer, Joe confesses he would make him dig his own grave. When Joe finally wakes up in a drunken stupor, he hears noises in the basement and a trail of dirt leading to the door. Joe’s bachelor party might have taken a turn for the absurd as he learns that his hypothetical may have become a little more real than expected.

The most enjoyable parts of Big Bear are when Joe and his crazy friends are interacting and goofing around. These roles are cast well and all of them are different, yet enjoyable. These interactions lead to ridiculous dialogue and a good deal of laughs. Unfortunately most of these moments come towards the beginning half of Big Bear. The second half takes an awkward turn as unexpected friendships are formed and life lessons are learned. The film tries to get away from the silly drunken buddy bachelor party movie and get down to more real issues. While I can appreciate what Joey Kern, who also wrote and directed the film, was going for – Big Bear should have realized its strengths and stayed in the buddy comedy realm. Unfortunately I think that half of the film straying from what worked causes it to falter overall… it may be worth a watch when it’s on Netflix in a couple years, but even that might be a stretch.

Rating: 2 out of 5