Review: Brigsby Bear

-Brenda Hillegas

We’ve all had a friend like Brigsby Bear, whether you want to admit it or not. You know you talked to your stuffed animals. You gave them depth, a background story. As a child, you looked up to a fictional character and you probably had conversations with that character in your head or imagined what it would be like to spend a day with him in the real world. I know I have. I always hoped the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 would pick me up early from school and take me shopping. I even told my dad it actually happened once and he believed humored me.

In Brigsby Bear, out nationwide today, James lives in a world that consists of his parents and a children’s television show about a bear named Brigsby. Nothing else. Though not a child, his childlike innocence makes James a character you immediately fall in love with and root for during the whole film. He is played perfectly by Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney; your heart breaks for him as he finds out the truth about his parents, his beloved Brigsby, and as he enters a new world he has never known of before. You cheer him on as he sets out to adapt to this world and complete Brigsby’s unfinished story.

Every one of us loves something or believes in something that everyone else questions a bit. Like Mooney, I have a deep love for ’80s and ’90s television (he especially enjoys the shows geared toward children and has quite a VHS collection; Brigsby is his love letter to the era). I also love a fictional character (it’s Hello Kitty, and she’s everywhere). We all have a few special things that makes us who we are, whether it evolves from our upbringing or preferences. And if we’re lucky, we all have a group of friends who love us unconditionally despite our quirks and obsessions. James finds that circle of friends in Brigsby Bear.

Mooney had his own childhood friends Dave McCary (who also writes for Saturday Night Live) and Kevin Costello help bring Brigsby Bear to life. McCary directed, Costello co-wrote.

I’d hate to give anything away. This movie is so specific and so unique that almost anything I mention could ruin the plot for anyone who has yet to see it. The best thing to say is this- expect the unexpected. If you’ve watched a bazillion movies like I have, you may seem to think the plot is heading to a certain place or that a supporting character is going to do something stereotypical that will upset the lead. Instead, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Last month, Kyle Mooney and Dave McCary stopped by the Ritz 5 to preview the film before heading over to the Trocadero for their stand-up performance. Brigsby Bear also stars Greg Kinnear, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins and Andy Samberg (who assisted in producing the film). You truly will laugh and cry. Skip the next big summer blockbuster. Brigsby Bear is the sweetest movie ever and I had the biggest smile on my face as I watched it.

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