Brigsby Bear – Film Review by Frank L
Directed by Dave McCary
Writers: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney
Stars: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Jane Adams
McCary has written 60 episodes of Saturday Night Live from 2013 to 2017. Here the script is written by Kyle Mooney and Kevin Costello where Kyle Mooney plays the principal human character, one James Pope who is on the verge of manhood. Brigsby Bear is a cartoon creation with whom James is obsessed; he is the Alpha and Omega of James’s life. However, a certain reality must enter into his life and it does. To say more about the plot will inevitably reveal the out-of- the-ordinary happening. The film is dependent on the happening being a surprise. It is crucial.
Because the story line requires the suspension of mundane expectation, it is easy to imagine many things including that James is a mature teenager. It is not surprising to learn that Mooney is considerably older in real life, namely 36 years of age. Mooney is a fine actor and manages to play a teenager with extraordinary aplomb. In the bizarre plot, he is both funny and innocent as he comes of age. A great deal of the drama takes place in a world of schmaltzy parents and stereotypical peers but Mooney and the script somehow manage to make James a character that, despite his surroundings, appeals and is certainly not humdrum. There are other characters in the plot such as the parents but to talk about them will traverse the crucial revelation. This is a story built around an unusual concept, but one you won’t find here! It is sufficient to say that Mooney as James is very much the star of the show.
This is an odd ball movie. It has a unique plot which has certain similarities to real time events of the recent past. But Mooney and his co-writer Costello have given those similarities a twist which fits well with some of the everyday obsessions of the contemporary world. A combination of Mooney’s skill as an actor and the kookiness of the plot will certainly appeal greatly to some cine enthusiasts, others may smile wanly. This reviewer was in the second category. Go to it with an open mind and find out which side of the divide you are on.