Directed by: Dave McCary
Written by: Kyle Mooney, Kevin Costello
Featuring: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hammill, Jane Adams, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.
James lives in an underground sealed home with his parents Ted and April Mitchum. Forced to stay underground due to subterfuge about the outside world told to him by his parents, James’ only connection with anyone other than them is via computer where he converses with fans of the only TV show he watches, Brigsby Bear. One night the police arrive, arrest Ted and April and take James into custody. Little does he know he is about to start on an adventure bigger and more eventful than any he has seen Brigsby take in his twenty-five years of viewing.
I do a lot of minor and wishy-washy complaining about the current state of the cinema and film-making. Too many explosions, too many comic book films, too many sequels and remakes so in my egotistical way it seems as if Dave McCary, Kyle Mooney and Kevin Costello have been listening to me and made a film that I wanted to watch.
Well if they did (they didn’t) they were listening very well and understand me. In my case, this film is a perfect fit. Exactly what I wanted to watch at the right time, telling the right story in the right manner.
I suspect this movie won’t have a huge audience and it is shame as it reminds me of the strange and quirky films of my youth that would pop up on BBC2. Things like Harold and Maude and Brewster McCloud which so fascinated me with their quirky characters and odd storylines. The last film I viewed that captured me in such a way was the similar Wristcutters: A Love Story, although not the same type of story but made in the same spirit. Just like Wristcutters this film is easily going to be high on my favourite films list.
I won’t go into detail on the story because the less you know about how it all pans out the better but this film has pathos and fun by the bucketload and for once, and in a refreshing change from a lot of films, nearly all the characters are basically nice people without bringing any saccharin to the screen.
I’ll admit I don’t know much about Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney but he is in that small group of comedians who can act with the comic brush in one hand whilst dabbing on drama with the other at will, without making the performance jarring or showy.
All he had to do was make sure the director was on the same page as him – he was, Dave McCary is a lifelong friend – and populate the film with quality actors. He did. Greg Kinnear is, as usual, standout as the kindhearted cop, Mark Hamill and Jane Adams manage to imbue some depth to their mainly unsympathetic characters and Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins bring reliable believability to their pivotal roles. I’m saving a lot of my praise for Ryan Simpkins who is believable as James’ long-lost sister, both spikey and loving as the story moves along, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. who is so great as the loveable nerd Spencer that I wanted him to be my friend.
And yes I did look at the pretty blonde lady and say to myself ‘Is that Clare Danes?’ It was.
There is no doubt this is a well-written, well-directed, well-acted film lovingly crafted by the makers, it’s a film about transformation, love, redemption and the wonder of imagination and friendship. It hasn’t got a bad bone in its body. It’s not perfect but what is?
I will be purchasing this for my Blu-Ray collection. I buy very few discs to keep these days so that is the best way I can praise this.
Fun, different, original as you can get in 21st-century cinema and with additional Andy Samberg.
Why not give it a go? I reckon most people will like Brigsby Bear, he’s a nice sort of bear.