Published on December 11th, 2017 | by voxx0
Out: 8 December
Length: 97 minutes
Director: Dave McCary
Cast: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Jane Adamas, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh
Plot: James (Mooney) has been forced to stay underground since he was an infant, watching his favourite TV show, but when the show suddenly ends he sets out to finish facing new challenges along the way.
The spirit of Lonely Island is clear during the opening credits of Dave McCary’s warm-hearted gem ‘Brigsby Bear’. The laughs start to bounce around the theatre at seeing their fake logo on a blue screen presented in the same font and same style as the Sony Pictures Classics logo, setting up the film as an unpredictable ride of Lonely Island camaraderie, along with producing credits and brief appearances throughout. Unpredictable, not so much, but points here go to the creative urge of co-writer and actor Kyle Mooney. He plays James, a man who’s been forced to live underground since he was an infant with a bedroom covered in memorabilia from his favourite children’s TV show, Brigsby Bear Adventures, starring a friendly big-headed bear with the comic Joker tones of Mark Hamill. However, when the show suddenly ends for him he urges to finish it.
It’s essentially a vague combination of ‘The Truman Show’ and ‘Room’ as he faces new challenges, including meeting new people and learning the truth about his parentage., meanwhile revelling in the darkly comedic tones to perhaps the disoriented state where the original story of Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘Frank’ stays. Every once in a while the vague description of the plot sneaks in a mysterious empathy for James’ charming characteristics and his current predicament; even his return to the place where he was kept captive brings a sympathetic side to his story. Yet anywhere McCary can get away with it, he sneaks in a piece of James’ memory – big tape recorders, ringer t-shirts or Brigsby paraphernalia just waiting for James to come and fondle them. In fact, to anyone who remembers it, this stuff could possibly be a jump back to the 80′s.
Mooney is brilliant as the film’s pigeon-hole writer and its main star. His creative urge to keep James’ story simple and his smart comedic side shows his ability to use warm-hearted, often sweet jokes to progress his character. Yet ‘Brigsby Bear’ isn’t perfect. There are a few times when the same joke is recycled, suffering from the cliché of being funny the first time, but not the other 3 or 4 times it’s been said. Still, the film is a class-act with a goofy sense of humour and a passionate affection for its premise. Its main character and the laugh-a-minute scripting makes the film as warm-hearted as it is weird, in its emotional storytelling that will breathe a warm breath of fresh air, unlike anything you’ve ever seen or will see in the future.
VERDICT: What comes off as an off-kilter comedy ends up as a sweet, funny and oddly touching original approach to pop culture’s impact and the tense creative urge to dream it.
- By Corey Denford