When I saw the trailer for The Country Bears before Ice Age, I could hardly believe my eyes. It seemed like a terrible idea, a film doomed to the worst kind of failure. Well, I saw it this morning, and it may be one of the biggest surprises I've had reviewing films in 5+ years. So many of Disney's films revolve around the protagonist finding their place or purpose in life, and I know I've become really tired of it. That's essentially the message of The Country Bears, but it's secondary to some really offbeat humor in this well written screenplay. Haley Joel Osment voices Beary, a member of the Barrington who runs away from home after learning he's adopted. He's a big fan of the now defunct group The Country Bears. During his visit to Country Bear Hall he learns that a banker, played by Christopher Walken, is threatening to tear the building down in a few days if they Bears can't make a $20,000 payment. Beary convinces a couple of the Bears to have the band play a reunion concert to raise the necessary funds. The majority of the film is the search for the other band members. This may sound like standard, boring kids' stuff, but it flows remarkably well. There aren't any dead spots. Mark Perez's script has some seriously odd humor that had me laughing a lot and laughing hard. Jokes come out of left field, not unlike in Animaniacs (for which director Peter Hastings was a writer and producer). Walken is a hoot, and Diedrich Bader of The Drew Carey Show is extremely funny as a police officer looking for Beary. There are some amusing cameos too. The Country Bears is in one sense a musical, with the film taking time out for songs. John Hiatt is the singing voice of one of the bears. He also wrote songs for the film, so the music holds up to scrutiny. I liked Lilo and Stitch, but I think this is a more inspired, more unconventional film. I realize most of you are going to think I've lost my mind entirely--I never expected to like it let alone as much as I did--but if you give it a chance, you might be surprised to find what may be the funniest film I've seen all year.