Comedies have become pretty stale nowadays. Many such films focus too heavily on crude comedy with little to no meaningful story that they become a one-time watch. There comes a comedy every once in a while that completely changes the stakes, and Brigsby Bear is the film to change how comedies are written.
Brigsby Bear follows the story of James Pope, played by Kyle Mooney, who has grown up watching the same TV show for his entire life: Brigsby Bear. After discovering the real world and being released from captivity, James proceeds to create a film about the TV show that was his life for so many years. I was not sure what to expect from this film when I saw the poster and trailer, but it left me curious enough to discover what the film had to offer. There is no doubt in my mind that this film should become a comedy classic.
Obviously the most important part about comedies is the humor of the film, and Brigsby Bear absolutely kills it. Whether it be Mooney’s dry, awkward jokes that fit his character or Mark Hamill‘s weird but cute Brigsby Bear voice, the film will have you laughing at even the simplest sentences. The cast is extremely strong, with various Saturday Night Live actors performing remarkably, including Mooney, Andy Samberg, and Beck Bennett. The young talent also shines, with Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and Ryan Simpkins acting well in their standout roles as James’s first friend Spencer and James’s sister Aubrey.
The script was well-sculpted by Mooney and Kevin Costello, considering that this is Costello’s first ever writing gig in Hollywood. To be able to work with an SNL actor on your first film ever and still put out an amazing script just goes to show just how well Mooney and Costello worked together. The script is nothing, however, without a good director. Dave McCary definitely did not disappoint, which surprised me greatly considering that Brigsby Bear is his first feature-length film. The film felt appropriately old and new, mainly because the cartoon in the show is filmed with an old school filter that mimics 1970’s and 1980’s children’s TV shows perfectly. Although I may have not grown up during that time period, I would still see some of these shows as a child, giving me a form of nostalgia that I did not know would be tapped. McCary definitely did put his previous experiences of working on SNL and the Youtube channel Epic Rap Battles of History to good use, as seen by the clean cuts and smooth sequences. What definitely blew the film out of the water for me, however, were the themes presented in the film.
Comedies very rarely have meaningful themes that are as explicitly stated than in Brigsby Bear. James is extremely easy to sympathize with, especially because of his dedication to making the Brigsby Bear film. The main theme of the film is persistence towards your goal, no matter the consequence or response from others. This theme resonates well with almost everyone, especially artists who are focused on their careers regardless of what their peers have to say. The other big theme which coincides with the main theme is to follow your dreams. These themes are well-woven into the film, and do not feel overbearing at all. They add to the overall storytelling of the film, and act as the main driving force for most of the characters. The film is most definitely a feel-good hit of the fall season, with a beautiful conclusion that left my eyes a little watery.
Verdict: 5 out of 5
Brigsby Bear is a whimsical and entertaining comedy that actually has a story to tell you and have you understand. I hope that more comedy directors take to heart what the film has done for the comedy genre, and I am extremely excited to see what Dave McCary can come up with next. It will be exciting to see how Brigsby Bear will hold up against its competitors in theaters.