As far as I know, there has never been movie like “Brigsby Bear.” It’s a smart and unusual comedy about a guy fascinated with a TV character nobody has ever heard of. Why? Because he never existed. But now I’ve seen this movie, he does.
Kyle Mooney of SNL fame stars as James, who loves Brigsby Bear more than anything in the world. He lives in an underground bunker with his parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams), who support him, and protect him from a poisonous environment. Apparently, it was all a lie. James was abducted by these two as a baby; Greg (Matt Walsh), Louise (Michaela Watkins), and Aubrey (Ryan Simpkins) are his real family; and Brigsby Bear has never existed.
James decides to spread the word, by making a movie with the props from the police station, courtesy of Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear), a would-be actor, who also join in. And also helping him is a young animator named Spencer (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.), who manages to post the Brigsby episodes on YouTube, starting a sensation.
“Brigsby Bear” doesn’t really fully explain why James was abducted (other than Hamill saying he was like his son), but it grabs you in a lot of ways. It satirizes 80s live action kid shows, allows the hero to get with the times while following his dreaming of continuing the bear’s legacy, and ends up having a sweet touch.
Mooney also wrote it with Kevin Costello; Dave McCray directed it; and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller produced it. Mooney does a nice job as an actor and a writer. Why can’t most movies be like “Brigsby Bear?” It’s nice, generous, and well-acted.