Film – Brigsby Bear
Director: Dave McCary
Starring: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Jane Adams
Genre: Here’s Brigsby
There’s nothing more frustrating than a film that pulls its punches. Brigsby Bear had the opportunity to be a cult classic, or at the very least the Sydney Film Festival film that everyone was talking about. Instead, just when things were getting interesting, it went all conventional and predictable when it should have gone surprising or dark or weird.
It’s understandable that it costs a lot of money to make a film and the investors and production companies want to turn a buck. But Brigsby Bear is not a mainstream blockbuster. It’s about a kid kept in a “post-apocalyptic” bunker by his parents for years and the father (Mark Hamill) who entertains his son by making a Humphrey B. Bear-type TV show called Brigsby Bear that becomes his son’s only understanding of the outside world. Until the FBI raid and the gig is up.
It’s a disturbing and not entirely original concept that initially is handled with black humour, is well crafted and had great potential. It could have gone really dark like the Australian B-grade classic Bad Boy Bubby (1993) or been an hilarious fish-out-of-water romp as the kid learns about the world he never knew existed.
But by catering to the screen-tested mainstream and turning something interesting into something sentimental, Brigsby Bear lost its edge, its audience and its reason for being, leaving no one satisfied, including its investors. The only surprise left is that Mark Hamill can act.
Rating: Three bears