BRIGSBY BEAR – A Review by John Strange
James (Kyle Mooney) lives a happy life in an underground home in the hills with his parents. Ted and April do their best to raise him right. They make sure he does his lessons each day before he gets to watch his favorite show, Brigsby Bear. Sometimes in the evenings, his dad, Ted (Mark Hamill), takes James up to the dome to watch the stars and the insects and animals.
This is our first clue that something is not right. The insects and animals are not real! What else is wrong with this world? At bedtime they shut the generator down for the night. Why? Is this a post-apocalyptic world? James has been taught that the air is no longer safe to breath. This explains why he is not supposed to go outside. And why his dad wears a gas mask and air tank when he leaves for work each day. But is it?
James sneaks out one night to sit on top of the airlock door and watch the stars through his gas mask. Up the road he realizes he sees cars with red and blue flashing lights racing toward their home. He races back inside just in time for the FBI to burst in and arrest his parents! The very confused James is wrapped in a blanket and moved out of the home and into a squad car.
The first of so many incorrect assumptions is defeated in that car when he doesn't suffocate. His real family, the Popes, and the life they lead is totally foreign to him. Everything is new and perhaps a bit weird. They try to wean him off Brigsby Bear. What they don't understand is that he has become perhaps the biggest fan of Brigsby Bear possible.
James and his sister, Audrey (Ryan Simpkins), slowly bond (something that eludes his parents, Greg (Matt Walsh) and Louise (Michaela Watkins)) over of all things Brigsby Bear. Despite his discovery that his "other dad" had made all the VHS tapes (over 25 years worth at one per week).James develops a dream to make a Brigsby Bear movie.
I think that Audrey begins helping him because of her attraction to Spenser (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), a budding filmmaker but soon falls for the charms of the Brigsby Bear Movie story. The making of this movie is a story worth watching all by itself!
This movie starts off like a small quirky little story that you can watch but perhaps not without a few yawns. And then as James' world turns over and over, the story gets more and more interesting. James jumps into moviemaking in a big way. His ideas about the story excite his new friends including of all people, the detective on his case, Detective Vogel (Greg Kinnear)!
This is a film that most people might not go to see based upon the description that is being publicized. I am here to tell you that this film will delight you. Brigsby Bear has fun and quirky characters (and many "normal" folks as well) and an interesting story worth watching. Don't take young kids as that will be totally lost. This film is aimed at adults who enjoy watching something a little different from your average film. I guarantee that this one will give you hours of things to talk about!
Directed by: Dave McCary
Cast: Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, Kyle Mooney, Greg Kinnear, Andy Samberg, Michaela Watkins, Christopher Sullivan, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Chris Provost, Ryan Simpkins
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements, brief sexuality, drug material and teen partying)
Selig Rating: A
Runtime: 100 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.