Brigsby Bear Review

– by Daryll Benjamin –


Brigsby Bear Review
Director: Dave McCary
Writer: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney

Kyle Mooney: James    Mark Hamill: Ted    Jane Adams: April
Greg Kinnear: Detective Vogel    Matt Walsh: Greg Pope
Michaela Watkins: Louise Pope    Ryan Simpkins: Aubrey Pope
Alexa Demie: Meredith    Jorge Lendeborg Jr: Spencer    Claire Danes: Emily
Chance Crimin: Logan    Beck Bennett: Detective Bander    Andy Samberg: Eric
Kate Lyn Sheil: Arielle

A favor to a friend turned into a quite needed break from crappy headlines and ongoing depressing news this Monday. As I related to my friends after seeing Brigsby Bear, this is going to be a hard review because I am tempted to give away a lot of nuances/twists that the movie contains. Giving this a shot though:

We open this movie with James focused on his favorite TV Show Brigsby Bear and as any geek can attest to, he is literally consumed by everything about the show. Seemingly a “vintage” film, the veil on this nuclear family gets pulled back to show a) where they’re living and b) how they are living. One evening, James ventures outside the home and in the distance, he sees flashing lights coming right at him. This is where the story of James, and by association, Brigsby Bear truly begins as he’s ripped out of the only home he’s ever known and has to adjust to a greater society soon after.

This is a story of family lost and family gained. A story of what is normal and how can you achieve it. A story of growing up and isolation. For every joke and giggle I had here, there was a moment that got me right in my geeky awkwardness as this outsider tries to fit in with “regular” society. I don’t think there is anyone alive who hasn’t experienced these emotions and that makes this the most awkward coming of age movie for me ever. The acting is first rate and top notch as everyone brought their A games here. Brigsby Bear is a must see for fans of The Truman Show and John Hughes films.

Kyle Mooney as James Pope is the cornerstone on which this film is built. You go through all his fear, anxieties and awkwardness as James attempts to make sense of the chaos his life has become. Greg Kinnear as Detective Vogel gives one of those understated “wow” performances that acts as a broken mirror as to what James could have been growing up normally. Meanwhile, the tandem of Joe & Greg (played by Mark HammilMatt Walsh) as James’ two dads, along with Michaela Watkins as his mom Louise are played with equal parts loving emotion and frustration. The breakout stars for me here are Ryan Simpkins as James’ sister Aubrey, who has to cope with the new “normal” disrupting her life, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr, who as Spencer, becomes Watson to James’ Sherlock in all things Brigsby.

4 out of 5 Stars and highly recommended as a change of pace from all out actioners and “complicated” movies. Be warned though, if you make this a date night movie, prepare a handkerchief/tissue or two to bring with you. I didn’t expect this to have the affect it had on me, BUT I am totally glad I experienced it.

Daryll Benjamin
Daryll Benjamin

Blerd. Irritant. Blogger. Podcaster at Daryll was a quiet, insecure person for years, then an incident blew Daryll’s mind to the point where he couldn’t keep it inside anymore. Now that the rage is released, EVERYONE will receive his words. Read Daryll’s CBU Column: One Man /// Riot

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