Review: Odd and harmless 'BRIGSBY BEAR' might be one of the best things you see this year.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
This has been a rather skimpy year, in terms of dramatic indies that can hold their own, and the most obscure and weirdly enticing one, “Brigsby Bear”, stands out among the best. Now, If you tune in every week, chances are you’ve seen Kyle Mooney in the depths of late night comedy with SNL, here he turns in a fantastic and real performance playing James Pope, a sheltered adult with no clue as to what goes on in the outside word. As to avoid spoilers, I’ll do my best not to divulge much of the plot, but there will be some, as that’s the nature of the beast. So tread lightly..
For his whole life, James has been sheltered and cocooned inside his room, with fear of stepping outside because of a so-called nuclear fall out. His only human interaction is with his parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams,) whom make him keep up on his studies, and chores. One salvation he does have is in the form of a poorly scripted 90s style children's show that comes in the “supply drop” every week, by the name of “Brigsby Bear Adventures.” James room is covered head to toe with the bear; on his blankets, his walls, even his shelves are towering with every episode in existence, on VHS tapes no less. He talks about the show as any Trekkie would about their love for “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” - it's the only thing James knows in this world. Weirdly enough, the show itself feels like a brainwash tool, with the oddly looking bear preaching lessons like “Curiosity is an unnatural emotion!” And we instantly get the feeling something is off.
Needless to say, there’s very little that James actually knows about the outside world, and, thanks to the tactics of a good detective (Greg Kinnear) he’s thrown into a new one. Where he meets his biological parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins - turning in fine performances) and has the realization that Brigsby Bear was a show created entirely for him and he sets out to make a movie based on his childhood icon. A sense of closure and finality to his one true friend.
The rest is a sweet montage that is like a cross between “Room,” and “The Truman Show,” and director Dave McCary (in his directorial debut) is able to give the perfect amount of beats to this dramatic indie. But the show belongs to Mooney, in a sweetly innocent role that makes you laugh and then smile.“Brigsby Bear,” I predict, will eventually find a cult following once streaming services get a hold of it, which I hope gets the word out, of how truly remarkable and special this movie is. A