Review: ‘Brigsby Bear’ a puzzler for ‘SNL’s’ Mooney

‘Saturday Night Live’ star Kyle Mooney heads up this bizarre trip that feels at times like a parody of itself

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

“Brigsby Bear” is the kind of movie Kyle Mooney would make fun of on “Saturday Night Live.”

So since it was written by and stars Mooney in an apparent attempt to be sincere, it’s tough to know what to make of this thoroughly bizarre exercise in schmaltz. Whatever its intent, it’s surely one of the worst movies of the year.

Mooney, who has a knack for playing loner nerds with heartbreaking melancholy, stars as James Pope, a manchild who lives with his loving parents in an underground bunker and spends his time watching VHS tapes of a strange children’s TV show titled “Brigsby Bear.” He recaps episodes on the web and participates in web chats about the show, which centers on the intergalactic adventures of the title character, a partially animatronic bear who looks like an extra in the Rock-afire Explosion.

Plot twist: James was kidnapped as a child and is being held captive in the bunker, and his kidnappers (played by Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) produce “Brigsby” for their audience of one. When the FBI raids the residence, James is returned to his real parents and he attempts to pick up the pieces of his life.

Except he can’t stop thinking about the further adventures of that plush bear and he sets out to make a feature length “Brigsby” movie with the help of his new friends. “Brigsby” sidesteps the trauma James endures and teaches cheesy life lessons on par with those of an ’80s childrens TV show, which is why it’s difficult to tell whether it’s spoofing this type of entertainment — which Mooney regularly does on “SNL” — or if it’s taking itself seriously. Either way, it’s a loopy, lopsided mess.

(313) 222-2284


‘Brigsby Bear’


Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, brief sexuality, drug material and teen partying

Running time: 100 minutes