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Review: Brigsby Bear is an oddball, feel-good comedy

Kyle Mooney as James in the film Brigsby Bear.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

3 out of 4 stars

Brigsby Bear
Directed by
Dave McCary
Kyle Mooney, Claire Danes, Mark Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Ryan Simpkins

The Dancing Bear. Paddington Bear. Barry White. Gentle Ben. Yogi Bear. We do like our huggable, harmless creatures from the past. Which brings us to Brigsby Bear, an oddball charmer of a motion picture about nostalgia, the pursuit of artistic passion and a coming of age bizarrely delayed and uniquely fulfilled. The bear itself is but a bit player.

Saturday Night Live's Kyle Mooney, who co-wrote the feel-good comedy, stars as Dave, an overgrown child who was kidnapped as an infant and raised by deeply eccentric parents in a desert bunker. His passion is children's television series Brigsby Bear, which stars an anthropomorphic titular hero who fights evildoers in a life-lesson way.

Dave is well into his 20s when he is rescued and returned to his loving biological family. He's naive and sheltered, and while there a few amusing fish-out-of-water moments, the easy laughs aren't overdone. Dave confronts his new reality by attempting to film a final Brigsby Bear episode with the help of new-found friends. Only by putting his past to rest can he begin his own adventure.

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