Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney stars in Brigsby Bear as James, a man who loves a kids’ TV show called Brigsby Bear, and loves his parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams). As it turns out, he’s a kidnapping victim: His parents aren’t his real parents, and the TV show was produced by his fake dad only for him.
When authorities rescue him, and he’s returned to his real parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins), James understandably has a few emotional and social issues, having never really been outside of a small dwelling in his entire life. His obsession with the fake TV show continues, and he aspires to continue the story of Brigsby Bear, even if it was a byproduct of his captivity.
Director Dave McCary, working from a script co-written by Mooney, delivers a surprisingly heartwarming, funny sleeper with this movie, a film that pays tribute to geek fandom (Hey … Mark Hamill!), and the importance of family, new friendships and forgiveness.
Mooney is essentially playing one of his spacey SNL characters here, and he fits the film perfectly. Greg Kinnear, as a helpful policeman with acting aspirations, leads a terrific supporting cast.
Yes, it is a little weird that James remains somewhat cool with and affectionate toward his fake captor dad, but, hey, it’s Mark Hamill! (There’s a nice touch involving voiceovers that makes total sense.) This is actually one of the better films starring SNL alumni to come out in the last few years, and Mooney shows he may just have a promising movie career.
Brigsby Bear opens Friday, Aug. 18, at theaters across the valley.