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Gooby

Pictured: Soul extraction

Let's imagine you're a Canadian filmmaker with a sound 6.5 million dollar budget. Not enough for a big genre piece but enough for a solid 90 minute comedy or drama, provided you don't blow your budget on star power. What do you do?

If you answered "hire Eugene Levy for a secondary role and Hagrid from Harry Potter to voice the giant dead-eyed teddy bear," you are Wilson Coneybeare, the Writer/Producer/Director of this straight-to-DVD abomination. While hailed as "heart-warming" and scoring "five doves" on ChristianCinema.com, there is nothing heartwarming about this film. Featuring a bear costume that makes the Country Bears look realistic and a plot we've seen done better several times already, it's unclear what the filmmakers thought Gooby would bring to the table. Aside from, you know, a host of double entendre that was either the world's biggest oversight or a deliberate attempt to sneak incredibly creepy subtext by the dove guys we mentioned earlier.

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A sequel was planned but scrapped for being too ethnic.

The film opens by introducing us to Willy, who monologues for a bit to establish his role as the main character and introduce his negligent power-career parents. We're treated to about a second of a CGI character that probably cost thousands of dollars just to model that we'll never see again before learning that Willy's parents are moving and introduced to Gooby, a teddy bear. After a few days being miserable in his new environment, Willy starts to notice something is about. He tracks it to the Friendship Shed, where he discovers that Gooby has come to life mutated into a dead-eyed all-devouring abomination which, apparently, is wearing a scarf suspiciously similar to Tom Baker's. From here, we're just going through the motions as we simultaneously follow the list of "things to do when ripping off Calvin and Hobbes" and "my imaginary friend is real and an adult is trying to expose it." Though that's not to say it doesn't do anything original, they just tend to be horrible things with no rational reason to be in the movie. The film ends with Gooby luring Willy to a derelict house and leaving him dangling over a pit, ostensibly so his father can save him and rekindle their relationship. This movie is bizarre. It doesn't come off as heartwarming, it's creepy. The bear suit is horrifying, the plot is from a handbook on child endangerment, and the message is "if your parents ignore you, don't make friends, just retreat into your imagination and put yourself in peril to get attention." And let's not forget that only black character in the film is swiftly replaced by Eugene Levy.
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Gooby in CGI mode


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