Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney stars as James, a man who loves a kid’s TV show called Brigsby Bear, and loves his parents (Mark Hamill, Jane Adams). As it turns out, he’s also a kidnapping victim, his parents aren’t his real parents, and the TV show was produced by his fake dad for him only. 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 a small dwelling 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!), the importance of family, new friendships, and forgiveness.
Mooney is essentially playing one of his spacey SNL characters here, and he fits in perfectly. Greg Kinnear, as a helpful policeman with acting aspirations, lends to a terrific supporting cast. Yes, it is a little weird how James remains somewhat cool headed and affectionate for his fake captor dad but, hey, it’s Mark Hamill! (there’s a nice touch involving voiceovers that just makes total sense).
This is actually one of the better films starring and SNL alumni to come out in the last few years, and shows Mooney to have a promising movie career.