In BIG BEAR, when Joe (Kern) gets dumped by his cheating fiancée, he reluctantly decides to go ahead with his bachelor party up at Big Bear Lake thanks to the urging of his three best friends (Brody, Labine, Knighton). Things take a turn for the worse the next morning when Joe discovers the man his fiancée ran off with (Schreiber) has been kidnapped by his friends and tied up in the basement.
What We Thought:
Big Bear is one of the most realistic buddies movies I’ve seen in a long time. Of course it’s funny, it has a favorite of The Nerds Templar Tyler Labine in it, but it also has a ton of heart. If you are a guy, you know some of these dudes. Some of them are your friends and just like the characters, you might do something not so smart for your friends.
Joey Kern wrote and directed the film and stars as Joe, a guy on his way to his bachelor party when he finds out his fiance is in love with another man. Joe doesn’t even want to go to Big Bear, but decides his friends need to know he just got dumped. Kern has been in a lot of things, but I think of him as Willie ‘High-Sox’ Hamilton in Screwball: The Ted Whitfield Story. As a first time writer/director, I look forward to future films if they are similar to this.
His friends consist of Labine, Adam Brody and Zachary Knighton. When they find out their friend got dumped, they do what buddies do best, they get him drunk. Add in a stripper who wasn’t getting cancelled simply because the bachelor party wasn’t happening and shenanigans ensue.
Of course while drunk things get said, ideas pop up and men kidnapped. Brody’s character thinks the best way to help his hurting friend is to kidnap the man his fiance is in love with. He’s played by The Wire/Orange is the New Black’s Pablo Schreiber. Schreiber’s character knows a lot more about Joe than Joe likes and it turns into a “Will they release him or scare him?” story.
There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments. Labine’s character is an alcoholic who decides he can drink during the weekend if he goes to meetings the following week. Knighton hooks up with the stripper. Schreiber escapes at one point and the friends have to catch him. Halt & Catch Fire’s Toby Huss plays a cop who wants to make sure no one is using medicinal marijuana. It is just a solid buddy comedy.
But like I said before, it has a ton of heart. Kern and Schreiber have some great scenes together. When they are in the basement and Schreiber is telling Kern everything he knows about him, you question whether or not you can dislike Schreiber despite taking another man’s woman. Their scenes at the end when Kern is deciding what to ultimately do with him have some great chemistry and dialogue.
Big Bear is a movie I know I’ll go back and rewatch multiple times. Kern was surprising as a leading man and Schreiber makes for a good antagonist. The cast is good and the story is believable. It feels authentic and honest. I quite liked it.
Cast & Crew:
- Joey Kern
- Adam Brody
- Zachary Knighton
- Tyler Labine
- Toby Huss
- Pablo Schreiber
Recommended If You Like:
- Mountain Men (the Tyler Labine film not The History Channel show)
- A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
- Very Bad Things