London Film Festival Review: Brigsby Bear

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Produced by famous group The Lonely Island and directed by Dave McCary, Brigsby Bear is one of the most wholly unique comedies in a long time, and easily one of the most uplifting films in a tumultuous year in the world.

An absolutely authentic laugh riot

Brigsby Bear follows the story of James (Kyle Mooney), who’s simple existence in an underground shelter watching a strange kids show called ‘Brigsby Bear Adventures’ is uprooted when he discovers his ‘parents’ kidnapped him at birth and actually created the show for him and he’s he only one in the world who has seen it. When reunited with his birth parents, James begins to experience normal life by going to a party and going to the cinema, yet all he can ever think about is Brigsby, so sets out to complete the show once and for all by making a home movie.

James’s adjustment into the real world is utterly hilarious, picking up then repeating phrases such as ‘dope shit’ feels simple but creates a lot of laughs. His never-ending knowledge of all things Brigsby Bear and the infectious nature of James and the show creates brilliant, humorous moments throughout as the other characters such as as his initially blunt sister and the police detective who saved him begin to embrace the madness of the show. An Andy Samberg cameo in a mental hospital sums up the bonkers nature of the film, and only adds to its hilarity. The script is so fantastically original and really pushes boundaries, and the cast deliver it so perfectly that each gag never fails to create a chorus of laughter.

Undeniably human and full of heart

Comedies are a genre of film that so often walk the line between terribly inept and fantastic, and Brigsby Bear is certainly in the fantastic category. This is wholly due to the real heart of the story, the acceptance of a man and his seemingly ridiculous Bear show is touching, and in a world where so many people are intolerant and hateful, it’s overwhelmingly pleasant. Through the silliness of making a Home movie full of ridiculous special effects and based around a interdimensional superhero space bear, the standout quality of Brigsby Bear is it’s hearty story and James’s infectious, inspiring journey as he adjusts to life in the real world doing the only thing he knows.

If there are any issues with the film, it would lie within its pacing, but seeing as the film is just over 90 minutes, it’s understandable as to why these problems arise. Not a big issue at all, it just feels slightly frantic as James suddenly goes from not having a clue about anything in the real world to having loads of friends and making a movie. This can be forgotten however with how wonderfully the story is told, and how the cast portray emotion and humour so easily and deliver the script brilliantly. Mark Hamill is hilarious as James’s ‘fake Dad’ and Matt Walsh is cringeworthy and heartwarming as his real Dad, Greg Kinnear shines as the detective that rescues James and subsequently wants to act in his film, with silly humour and great comedic timing clearly some of his many talents. Kyle Mooney shines as James and would absolutely be deserving of a Golden Globe nomination come awards season, delivering his own script perfectly and making a wonderfully loveable hero.

The Verdict

As comedies go, you don’t get much better than Brigsby Bear. A unique, smart, uplifting and hilarious story supported by a great ensemble cast that quite frankly will leave you desperate to watch an episode of Brigsby Bear Adventures. Despite a slight pacing issue, this film leaves one feeling euphoric and will leave you with a pain in your side from laughter.

Rating: 8/10

Words by Elliott Jones

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