Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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'Bears' good for young set

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 29, 2002

Movie: The Country Bears

  • Rating: G

Summary: Beary Barrington (voice of Haley Joel Osment) is a bear who was adopted by a human family when he was a cub. The family never told Beary he was adopted, and he has always accepted his place in the family until his brother Dex (Eli Marienthal) reveals the truth. Beary hits the road hoping to trace his roots. His instincts lead him to the rundown Country Bear Hall, where his idols, a formerly famous rock band called the Country Bears, once played. He runs into Fred Bedderhead (voice of Brad Garrett), the group's ex-leader, who doesn't have the money to fight the greedy banker who wants to tear down the hall. Beary convinces Fred to go on a road trip with him to piece together the former band members for a tribute concert, which they hope will raise enough money to pay off the banker.

My View: This film, which is based on the once popular Country Bear Jamboree attraction at Disney World, was better than the trailers led me to believe it would be. I anticipated being bored out of my wits, but the movie was tolerable.

Favorite Part: I enjoyed all the cameos made by famous recording artists, including Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Elton John and former Eagles drummer-singer Don Henley. The soundtrack was a compilation of classic rock, country and contemporary pop that provided the substance of this movie. Kids won't get some of the jokes directed at their parents. It helped to have my mom along to explain some of them.

Recommendations: Teenagers, don't get too excited about this one; it's more for your younger sibling and your parents. It's all right, but I would rather catch some of the other kids films that have been out for a while.

Grade: C+

-- Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is former member of the Times X-Team.

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