Big Bear Review
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Bachelor parties are a popular topic for wild comedies—because they’re so often full of the kind of booze-fueled antics and comically bad decisions that make for crazy (though not necessarily smart) movies. But the wild buddy comedy Big Bear begins when the bachelor party ends.

Big Bear follows the adventures of four buddies on what was supposed to be a wild and crazy guys’ weekend at the lake. Joe (Joey Kern) arrives at the lake house ready to call off the party because his fiancée has left him for another guy—but his friends convince him to stick around to drown his sorrows. The next morning, Joe wakes to find that his troublemaking friend Eric (Adam Brody) has kidnapped the Other Guy (Pablo Schreiber). And as the party continues around him, Joe is forced to decide what to do with the man who stole his fiancée.

For the most part, Big Bear starts out like any other bachelor party comedy—despite the fact that it isn’t really a bachelor party anymore. Joe’s band of happily unattached buddies ensures that there’s still plenty of alcohol—even for recovering alcoholic Nick (Tyler Labine)—along with a wild night at the otherwise quiet local bar, a visit from an adventurous stripper, and a morning-after that’s filled with suffering and regret. But that’s just the beginning.

When Joe’s friends are involved, Big Bear is crazy, madcap, over-the-top fun. Each one has his own unique personality—from self-centered ladies’ man Colin (Zachary Knighton) to Eric, who’s more than just slightly unhinged. Their adventures may not be entirely new or surprising, but this group of fun-loving characters brings plenty of laughs.

Unfortunately, though, when the friends are out of the picture, the movie isn’t as much fun. Joe is rather bland—and while the character’s occasional moping is understandable, he simply doesn’t have the kind of big personality that his friends do.

Meanwhile, once the cause of the problem is in the guys’ custody, the story seems to lose its way. Joe questions him, struggling to decide what to do with him, wrestling with his conscience while his friends test out the best torture methods. There are still some madcap moments here and there, but it eventually spirals into something that’s surprisingly serious—and even a little depressing—as the two rivals end up having a heart-to-heart in the woods. After an hour or so of drunken antics, the final act feels like a sucker punch to the gut—and it ends the film on a low note.

Though it has plenty of laughs and wild, bachelor party misadventures, the comedy of Big Bear eventually comes to a screeching halt, turning an otherwise entertaining brainless comedy into an unexpected downer. If you do check it out, you might want to skip the last 20 minutes or so.

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