WTF?! Is this for real? Was my exact thought about 30 minutes into the movie. Who could’ve guessed that DISNEY’S Christopher Robin (not to be confused with Fox’s depressing Goodbye Christopher Robin) would end up being the best STONER comedy of the year, thus far? And believe you me, it’s not gonna be easy to beat this one, as far as the hahas go.
I don’t think I read the Winnie the Pooh books as a kid, nor do I have a clear memory of the cartoon — though, I remember questioning why a bear with no nipples would find the necessity to put on a T-shirt. Or maybe he does have nipples. Have we ever seen Pooh topless? Anyway… perhaps Winnie the Pooh has always been a stoner comedy and I just didn’t realise it as a kid. After all, he’s quite literally a (honey) pothead who’s always happy, continually droopy and constantly has the munchies. Regardless, this live-action Christopher Robin definitely is a stoner comedy or at least has elements of it, and those elements, I love very very much.
So, it’s a bummer that this film isn’t an all-out comedy. It’s also an adventure (but the adventuring, I do not care for), and a drama (it’s alright). But let’s run through the comedy first. The humour in Christopher Robin is both unquestionably nonsensical and absolutely smart. Somewhere in the first act, Pooh nonchalantly but confidently tells Christopher Robin, “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” Whether or not you find this movie WTF hilarious will depend on whether or not you understand why that line is funny.
Christopher Robin is now an adult. A working adult. A nine to five, seven days a week slave to the system. He doesn’t enjoy what he does but thinks he has to do it because “that’s real life.” He has a beautiful wife and a young daughter, whom he loves very much but doesn’t dedicate any time to loving them. More importantly, he has forgotten his friend Winnie the Pooh and the rest of the gang. One day Pooh stumbles out of the Hundred Acre Woods and into London where he bumps into his old pal. Together with Pooh, Christopher gets tangled up in some shenanigans.
The chemistry between Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) and Pooh (voiced by Jim Cummings, the Kevin Conroy of the Winnie the Pooh world) is excellent. McGregor as Christopher Robin naturally assumes the straight man role — always logical, sometimes angry, frequently stressed out and just wants Pooh to shut the f*ck up and let him work. This leaves room for Jim Cummings to bask in the spotlight as Pooh and deliver all the glorious punchlines.
Now Pooh is an interesting character, one quite difficult to describe in a couple of words. Let’s put it this way. Picture this:
Master Yoda visits Bob Marley’s grave to buy the finest weed on the planet from the king of Reggae. Marley rises from the grave, but instead of rolling a joint, decides to bake marijuana honey biscuits. Once the both of them are stoned out of their minds, they decide to shag (don’t ask) and then Yoda gets pregnant. When the baby is born, Yoda accidentally drops him on his head while running away to Dagobah. That kid is this Winnie the Pooh: crazy, wise and always blazed.
I’m determined not to spoil too much of the ingenious humour, but perhaps I’ll mention a line from the trailer and explain (urgh, ew) why it’s funny.
Christopher Robin: I’ve cracked.
Winnie The Pooh: Oh, I don’t see any cracks. A few wrinkles, maybe.
When Christopher Robin says he’s cracked, he’s implying he’s lost his mind — how is it that a grown man is able to talk to a stuffed animal and how did said stuffed animal travel more than 50 miles through a magical tree?But Pooh takes it literally and says he doesn’t see any cracks, but a few wrinkles, implying Christopher Robin’s age. It’s these kinda lines (smartly penned by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy and Allison Schroeder) paired with Cummings’ impeccable delivery that makes the comedic bits in this movie absolute GOLD. Your kids won’t understand the humour, but if they do, then take a bow.
It’s when the film isn’t tackling comedy that it loses its lustre. Christopher Robin is first and foremost a children’s adventure. It’s more Paddington than it is Harry Potter and so it’s not for me. It’s the kind where these magical stuffed animals, get thrown out of a lorry when it hits a bump, fly in the air and lands on a car’s windshield. I can imagine three-year-olds having a blast during that sequence. I couldn’t wait for another one of stoner Pooh’s punchlines.
But much like the comedy, the drama caters to a much more adult audience. The shenanigans that Christopher Robin gets embroiled in with Pooh and friends doubles as a journey of self-discovery. A lesson on life. That life is about more than just working. That it’s important to do what makes you happy. That while planning for the future is integral, it’s more integral to live life in the now. The execution isn’t as layered enough in the same vein of say, the stuff you get from Disney-Pixar, but it does provide a couple of moments that will get you teary-eyed.
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Who could've guessed that DISNEY'S Christopher Robin would end up being the best STONER comedy of the year, thus far? And believe you me, it's not gonna be easy to beat this one, as far as the hahas go.