It seems that every week now – I’m here reviewing a film hot off the festival circuit and well, this week is no different. Today, I’m here to talk about the much anticipated indie dramedy “Brigsby Bear”. A film that even Kevin Smith took to social media to praise in the weeks leading up to it’s release. So the question is, after 7 long months of festival hype, does ‘Brigsby’ live up? Let’s dive in.
Synopsis: Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James’s life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story. (Mongrel Media)
Starring: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill and Jane Adams
Writers: Kevin Costello & Kyle Mooney
Director: Dave McCary
Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
For showtimes and more, check out Brigsby Bear on movietimes.com.
This movie is a lot of things and genres thrown into one but at its core is a film about creativity and how pop culture can influence a person’s life. Some may be turned off by the film’s oddness from the very opening scene but others will surely fall in love with the film’s quirkiness. If you’ve ever “geeked out” about something you loved then this movie is for you. This movie is essentially about a “Fan-Boy” who is determined to create a proper ending to the show that was taken from him without proper closure and it’s a very fun watch.
People should go into this one knowing as little as possible (I went in that way and I feel as though it benefited my experience). To best describe the film to any film fan/interested party, it would be to imagine if the plots of “Be Kind Rewind” and “Room” merged with the zany characters of “Napoleon Dynamite” and the music and overall quirkiness of “Turbo Kid”. Those films kept coming to mind while watching. It is definitely an original film seeing that those involved are big movie buffs too who were influenced from the films they love.
The direction, performances from the entire cast and even the screenplay are all really solid pieces of work here and while there are some flaws, they were few and far between. For starters, Kyle Mooney leads the film here and is absolutely great. He pretty much stole the show against all the other on screen talent while delivering one of the year’s most memorable characters and performances to the screen. Mark Hamill portrays one of the film’s many supporting characters and he turns in a solid performance in a very different role for him and it was great to see him switch things up a bit.
Now, in terms of flaws the movie is a bit too long. There wasn’t enough of a plot here to warrant the 97 minute runtime and it felt like it would have worked better at 80 minutes or less instead. Those involved with the film are best known for their work with Saturday Night Live where they have presented a variety of their own sketches, segments and gags on the show and this is their first big feature so this did not come as much of a surprise.
While those involved clearly tried, the film didn’t quite resonate emotionally. Despite being in the target audience, the ending really just didn’t hit on the level it had the potential to. This is still a solid and sweet film overall but still these flaws still exist for me even after two viewings of the film now.
In Conclusion/My Verdict: 3.0 Stars out of 5.0 – Dave McCary’s debut feature “Brigsby Bear” isn’t a film for everybody nor is it the must see indie movie of the Summer but if you’re willing to give it a chance with an open-mind than the film might win you over in the end. It’s a film about the pure joy of creativity and the power that pop culture can have on a person and it sure managed to put a smile on my face above all else. It was a well balanced film, finding a good mix between it’s comedy and drama. The direction is solid, the screenplay is great, and the performances are all strong. While I do have some slight criticisms with the film, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives enough to get this one a decent grade from me. If you’re interested, I’d say go check it out!