The bear looks dumb. I get it, I do. You don’t want to see some dumb-looking bear movie! And it’s got that nerd from SNL in it. Not that one. The other one. The one with glasses. And the trailer looks artsy and precious and... post-apocalyptic? It looks weird. And every fiber of your being is going, “Ughhhhh, do I gotta go see this dumb bear movie?”
I am here to tell you that yes, you do gotta go see this dumb bear movie. Brigsby Bear is great. It’s beautiful and hilarious and it has something fundamentally compelling to say about how we tell stories. Even if those stories are, yes, about dumb-looking bears.
I don’t want to get too much into the plot, because it’s kind of complex and kind of meta, but suffice to say that James (Kyle Mooney) has an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt “life in a kidnap bunker” thing going on, and said bunker life involved a series of VHS tapes featuring the titular bear, Brigsby. The film’s stories diverge from there, but Brigsby, like Schmidt, employs a deft touch when addressing the dark core around which its comedy is drawn. (It’s no coincidence that Brigsby is voiced by Mark Hamill who, as a voice actor, is a master of manic, endearing, and sinister characters.)
A lot of Brigsby is about the increasingly porous distinction between fan and creator, and both the joys and responsibilities that come from inserting yourself into the creative process. It’s also about how fun it is to grab some friends and a camera and just make shit. Throughout, it’s all given life by a sense of enthusiastic, unapologetic fandom—the likes I haven’t seen since Galaxy Quest. And besides, you know what? The bear is supposed to look dumb. Stop worrying about the bear. Go see Brigsby Bear already.