Out Now On-Demand
Dramedy starring Saturday Night Live's Kyle Mooney, trying to integrate into society after decades spent being raised in isolation and on hundreds of episodes of a TV show - Brigsby Bear Adventures - that no-one else seems to have ever seen. Co-stars Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear and Matt Walsh.
"James (Mooney) has lived in a bunker for 25 years, completely isolated from the world. His only contact is with his parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams), and his only source of entertainment and education is the '80s-style television show 'Brigsby Bear Adventures'. James's life is drastically changed when he leaves the bunker and has to integrate into society: a task for which he is completely unprepared. Most disturbing of all, James can no longer watch his beloved TV show. In order to make sense of his life, James will need to bring Brigsby Bear back into it." (Sydney Film Festival)
- Dave McCary(feature debut)
Rating: M Sex scenes, offensive language & drug use
“Sheltered, unconventionally-raised, man-child encounters the real world” may seem like an overworn idea, but Brigsby Bear finds fresh gold to mine, largely by avoiding unnecessary whimsy. That’s not to suggest its complete absence, especially given the adoration James Pope (Kyle Mooney) has for a long-running TV show only he’s ever seen – Brigsby Bear Adventures - and his attendant fandom that extends to bedsheets, apparel and playsets. But the film is very much on Pope’s side, rather than subjecting him to ridicule or turning him into a one-note oddball character.
As Pope, Mooney plausibly and endearingly navigates his way into contemporary society in three-dimensional fashion - at times calmly, at others confused, but never succumbing to the sense of victimhood his unorthodox upbringing may deserve. There’s absolutely a fish-out-of-water scenario being mined for laughs here, but throughout, the film manages to avoid exploiting Pope for our entertainment.
The largely reserved Mooney is ably backed by a supporting cast that includes a hilariously-cast Mark Hamill alongside a host of familiar faces like Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, and Jane Adams. It says a lot about Brigsby Bear that Pope is the most fully-realised character of the bunch, accentuating his struggles to connect with “normal” people. Mooney's nuanced performance convinces as someone who essentially just views, and relates to, the wider world through a different pop culture lens to anyone else.
And what a lens - the film nails the 80s kids’ aesthetic of Brigsby Bear Adventures in a way that strongly underpins Pope’s conviction and fandom. Brimming with humour and heart, innocent without being naive, and celebrating the joy of creativity, Brigsby Bear was one of the under-sung highlights of this year’s festival circuit, and its return to cinemas deserves to be warmly welcomed.
The Guardian (UK)
NZ Herald (Dominic Corry)
Stuff.co.nz (Sarah Watt)
NewsHub.co.nz (Kate Rodger)
Decent film, but not exactly my thing
Definitely worth a watch, but not usually the kind of film that attracts my attention. A bit too...hipster? Sentimental?
Lonely Island have outdone themsleves
Lots of quirky moments and giggles
I spent the first 15 minutes of this movie whispering to my friend "What are we watching?? This is bizarre!" But then I clicked, and the storyline became a bit clearer, and I started to really enjoy it. I'd recommend it to anyone who can appreciate awkward moments for their comedy value.
As this movie progressed it slowly, slowly got better. An "interesting" movie is how myself and friends summed it up. It had some funny moments. It's a feel good movie.
Where nostalgia and imagination combine to make movie magic.
When a young man, James (Kyle Mooney) is integrated into today's modern world after living his entire life in isolation apart from kooky couple Ted (Mark Hamill) and April (Jane Adams), the only thing that keeps his transition manageable is his stimulation by, and attachment to a kids TV show called Brigsby Bear Adventures. Made weekly, educational and entertaining, the Brigsby Bear Adventures series characters are acted and voiced mainly by Ted, and the Smiles Sisters: Arielle, (whom James has a crush on), and Nina - hilariously played by the same girl, thrown together in some fun but budget costumes and sets with a distinct 80's feel.
When James tries to assimilate with a new family and a new world, his only point of reference is Brigsby, and he is astonished to discover he was it's only viewer and number one fan. In an effort to share his epic and intense devotion to Brigsby with the world, but encountering much resistance, he eventually manages to form some surprising allies. With his naive candour and enthusiastic immersion in the creative process you can't help but fall in love with James as he connects and unites people in his own refreshingly honest way.
Unique, inspirational and funny!
Not sure what all the fuss is about...
I am beginning to wonder if there might be something I am missing about Brigsby Bear. Having had no preconceived notion of what sort of film I was gong to see I now discover a torrent of laudatory reviews for a film which largely left me unmoved. The premise is a deceptively simple one - boy gets abducted as a baby - is brought up by isolationist parents and early in the movie is rescued by Police. His life in captivity revolved around a cartoon character and the rest of the film explores his self-imposed task of completing the unfinished story of said Character, Brigbsy Bear.. The major problem for me is that I never once felt any empathy with the central character James, played by an actor with whom I am not familiar - Kyle Mooney. Frankly I didn’t care whether or not he succeeded in his endeavour. An early appearance by a familiar face did make me wonder if this might be a 'Luke Skywalker goes bad’
sort of film but it transpired that Mark Hamill's character - the kidnapping father- really only went along with what his wife wanted. Don’t we all. Greg Kinnear as a sympathetic Detective and Jorge Lendeborg Junior as James’ first real friend and film making cohort were, for me, the two characters who saved this film for being completely moribund. The rest of the cast did not move me either way. But there were a lot of laughs coming from the preview audience so perhaps the real loser in all of this is me.
Film of the year
I watched this movie knowing almost nothing about it, without over saturating myself with details of the storyline - and I recommend you do too. Quirky and heartwarming, with the right balance of pure absurdity and humour, mixed with something which was really much more poignant. I walked out of the theatre with a smile on my face.
Best movie for Best Korea
Hollywood thinks you need conflict. It thinks you need it so bad that soft, glisteningly predictable lumps of conflict will come down the foreshadowing their way down a conveyor shovelling plot down your maw in virtually every movie.
Brigsby Bear deliberately sets course for a dozen different easy conflict setups and then deftly turns at the last minute. Everything always works out. From not getting the snot kicked out of him at a party to the good cop/bad cop duo turning out to actually just being a couple of good cops this movie satisfyingly resolves everything in the nicest way possible. The main character has an inner peace shared by the movie itself, an infectious thing that will make other movies taste bad. Little by little we learn that awkward and different is not just OK but kind of special too. Life would be like that, if only we'd let it. Let all our experiences be good and our problems small and fleeting.
Go in knowing as little as possible
Hands down the loveliest film I've seen in a long long time. Not a word I was expecting to use for a SNL cast member fronted Lonely Island production (Hot Rod is my favourite film so make of that what you will). I went in knowing only the vaguest details of the plot and I think the experience was all the better for it and highly recommend you do the same. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot, which I did not expect. But like, good crying. The film is phenomenally well shot and designed... Highly recommended. Will be going again.
...for a real movie of innocence. Took hubby who normally loves action packed movies with guns, violence, car chases, bad language, fight scenes etc... I was expecting him not to like Bigsby Bear but he walked out with a smile on his face! I would love to go again with my 2 teens. Not very often do we get to see a feel good, fun, make you smile kind of movie - and this one rates right up there. Inspiring us adults to hand on to that sense of magic/creativity that we seem to loose as we get older. Highly recommend!