If you’re unfamiliar with Kyle Mooney’s work, you’re in for something else when you watch this movie. In my opinion, he’s the funniest guy in the industry right now. But he’s an acquired taste. In fact, if he wasn’t, I wouldn’t like him as much. Kyle prides himself on being anything BUT broad humor. He finds and develops comedy in the places you would never imagine it existed. It’s absurdist, surrealist, and cringe humor all rolled into one. You might think you like any one of those–but don’t be too sure until you’ve experienced the brilliance of Kyle Mooney.
While most products of SNL writers are either totally mainstream or cooly edgy, Brigsby Bear has an incredible indie feel. I’d say it’s a dark comedy, but I laughed out loud way to much for that to be true.
The film follows a 25 year old man-child, James (Mooney), who is obsessed with the TV show Brigsby Bear Adventures. And when I say obsessed, I mean he’s never watched any other show or movie. It’s all he thinks about. But he doesn’t realize that the show is made only for him.
He lives with his parents in some underground cave. James isn’t allowed outside, and when his dad leaves the house, he puts on a gas mask. We’re led to believe it may be post apocalyptic or something.
Now I’m going to give something away that’s revealed within the first 20 minutes. So spoiler alert: It turns out everything in James’ world isn’t what it seems. It’s all a lie. His parents abducted him as an infant and the Brigsby Bear show was created by James’ fake dad for James only.
So James is out in the real world, but there is no more Brigsby Bear. Yet. James sets out to finish the story himself.
While Mooney is the true star, I would be doing a disservice not crediting both Mark Hamill and Greg Kinnear with doing a spectacular job with their parts. Kinnear’s performance is honest, as always, but Hamill’s is a little more unexpectedly impressive.
Though no one outshines Mooney, who truly showcases his range here. His demeanor always lets you know that it’s okay to laugh without questioning it–even in the most personal scenarios. He’s been doing this type of comedy for years, but has a little more clout now, so his projects are getting made on a larger scale.
Maybe it’s my own weird sense of humor, but it’s been awhile since a film has had me in a constant state of some emotion. I was either laughing, smiling, or crying from start to finish.
The filmmakers aren’t flippant about the sensitive subject matter. In fact, they use the film as an opportunity to take you inside the mind of someone who’s been abducted. The rest plays out as a poignant introspective about a guy in a specific situation. It subverts what we think should be the case (i.e. him hating his fake parents and what they’ve created), and shows how maybe there’s no real black or white when it comes down to it. Don’t over-think it and get it twisted. Brigsby Bear isn’t satirizing obsessive fanboy culture–it’s SPEAKING to it.
And with a comedic genius like Kyle holding it all up, Brigsby Bear is one of the most beautiful comedies I’ve ever seen. This film’s success should mean good things are to come for fans of Kyle Mooney.