You won’t have heard of the old TV show Brigsby Bear. A fantastical bear who saved the universe and taught maths and exercise. You won’t have heard of him, because it doesn’t exist.
Before I go any further with this review I’m going to do something that will seem counter intuitive to the whole point of this site and the reason you are here.
I’m going to ask you not to read this review. That’s right. Stop reading, and just go and watch Brigsby Bear. Sit, be amazed, be moved, laugh and have fun.
If you insist on reading I’m going to try and keep this as brief as possible and not delve too much into the movie, you have been warned, I still recommend you see this wonderful film knowing as little about it as you can.
Kyle Mooney (Bad Neighbours 2, Zoolander 2) plays James Pope. James lives in a world that we would find very unusual.
His parents are Mark Hamill (he of Star Wars) and Jane Adams (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Wonder Boys) and also Matt Walsh (Ted, The Hangover) and Michaela Watkins (The Back-up Plan, Enough Said). Confused? Good.
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say: “where have you been living? Under a rock?” Well, yes, James has been living under a rock, metaphorically speaking.
He knows little of the world but quickly makes friends and endears himself to everyone he meets include a police detective, Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine, As Good As It Gets), his sister Ryan Simpkins (A Single Man, The House) and Jorge Lendeborg Jr (The Land, Spider-Man Homecoming), his sisters friend.
He is perhaps less successful with Claire Danes (Homeland (TV), Stardust) who is a psychiatrist trying to help James and his family.
Where does Brigsby Bear fit into all this? Well, Brigsby Bear is a long running TV show, primarily aimed at children, with a huge audience of…one…James.
When the show ends, abruptly, James enlists the help of his friends to finish the story and set the world to rights.
Kyle Mooney co-wrote the script with Kevin Costello (first-time) with Dave McCary (Saturday Night Live (TV)) the man pointing the camera.
The movie is very well directed, it’s very well written and the performances, across the board, are stand-out. Hamill in-particular is great to the point you wonder why he isn’t in more movies that aren’t Star Wars.
It isn’t perfect, of course not. There’s a large belief suspension required, and some areas are skipped over whilst others create holes a bus could drive through and characters are a little thin.
But, it’s ok, it’s enjoyable. You start the movie as content as James, you are as confused as he is when it all seems to get turned upside down and then you laugh and live the enjoyment with him until the emotion finally hits at the end.
Brigsby Bear is a wonderful, silly, moving, funny, weird movie that puts a first-time writer, and a first-time full-length movie writer, firmly on the map. Until our next adventure.