Brigsby Bear @ The Ross

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Kyle Mooney as Brigsby Bear (James Pope)

Kidnapped as a baby from the hospital by a two science kooks, James Pope, played by Saturday Night Live regular Kyle Mooney, has lived in isolation underground somewhere USA since then. His parents, Ted, played by Mark Hamil, and April, played by Jane Adams, have assembled an animated outside world where animals and foliage appear real. Installed in the compound are secret codes that open and close doors; they wear gas masks when going outside. James’s only means of entertainment is a television show called the Brigsby Bear Adventures, and new episodes are delivered on VHS tape to him by his parents. Do you remember the 1970s television series called Spectreman and more recent Smallville? Well, add Teletubbies, Barney, and Power Rangers into the mix, hoist the moon from George Milies’s 1902 film Trip to the Moon, and you have Brigsby Bear.

Directed by Dave McCrary and written by Kevin Costello and Mooney, Brigsby Bear is a quirky offbeat film, and it envisions a world of acceptance no matter your circumstance. The FBI locate Ted and April, rescue James, and return him to his birth parents. The adventures begin as James, now 25 years old, finds friends who have an emotional and psychological investment in his project to turn Brigsby Bear into a film. For him, it is his only means of closing out his former world in isolation and embracing his new life.

Costello’s and Mooney’s story really is about using what you have in your own house to create happiness. James has memorized every Brigsby Bear episode, but with his return to his birth family, no more episodes are delivered to him. Since Brigsby Bear’s world is all James has known, Brigsby Bear is the dross material he utilizes to keep him from the brink of insanity. Strangely enough, we can credit James’s steady emotional and psychological course to the advice from his kidnapper father.

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All of Brigsby Bear’s adventures rest inside of James. This element in the story works, and sidesteps our expectation for a complete nervous breakdown by James after his capture and entry into his new life. Mooney is perfect in Brigsby Bear, playing him walking a very fine line between sanity and complete madness.

 

 

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