Brigsby Bear is a piece of weirdo cinema that seems like the kind of fake movie you’d see as a film-within-a-film mocking Sundance. It’s precious bordering on twee, deeply nostalgic, possessed of a quirky synth score (courtesy David Wingo, frequent Jeff Nichols collaborator), and full of actors from the indie comedy scene. It’s practically a checklist of Sundance stereotypes—and it was, indeed, a big hit at this year’s Sundance. But Brigsby transcends its made-for-mockery foundation. It’s a little too sweet for the inherent darkness of its story, but Brigsby Bear is a sensitive and sincere portrait of loneliness and fandom.
Best known for writing the weird and frequently cut sketches on SNL, Kyle Mooney now moves up to feature film, with this movie about a sweet odd dude who learns a devastating truth and turns to a childhood show for comfort. More or less. Brigsby Bear is both more complex than the trailer makes it seem, and simpler. It is, though, a strong debut for Mooney as a features writer, even if the high concept doesn’t quite pan out.