Review: Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Written and directed by Jessica Redish, a feisty Angeleno attempts to trap a bear infiltrating her neighbourhood. Starring: Laura Schein, Amy Tolsky, John Dellaporta, Ray Buffer, Matt Brady, Matthew Mason and Clayton Farris.

With Exit, Pursued by a Bear, writer and directorJessica Redish immediately hits you right in the face with the film’s excessively perky, positive attitude. The style feels as though you blended La La Land with 50s television and added in a plenty of parody. It’s bright and colourful, there’s a lot of movement and it really takes the feel of a musical in its stride. The overall feel is sweet, there’s a tongue in cheek edge to the humour and while it is intended for adults, it still keeps that accessible, all-ages atmosphere.

There’s a great mix of familiarity and originality to the writing and music. It takes what we know and adds its own spin, with a bouncy tone throughout. It starts out with a high energy and keeps it going consistently to the end, the pacing takes that musical side first then brings through a larger comedy. To some extent, it feels like the style you get when beloved television shows do spontaneous musical episodes. They have a self-awareness for being silly and they lean into it, heightening the overt optimism that comes with most musicals. The way that it’s put together you can see the sincere amount of effort that went into doing justice to both sides, to making it funny and making a genuine musical at the same time.

Laura Schein absolutely hits the nail on the head with what you’d expect from this performance. She embodies every classic attribute to women in Hollywood musicals, that fresh outlook on life, ready to take on the world. She then takes it a step further bringing through the sense of humour and poking fun at life in LA, lockdown and loneliness. There’s a great ensemble backing her up, again it feels like exactly what you’d expect from a musical, the over the top reactions and theatricality mixed with merging dance into every action possible.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear creates a lockdown parable with a classic Hollywood styled musical and while that sounds a little crazy, surprisingly it works. It captures all the typical elements from the hyper-active positivity to the music and lyrics. It’s lively and bouncy, there’s a great cast at work and it packs a lot into its handful of minutes. If you’re a musical fan and want a quick injection of something that would normally be two and a half hours, then this is a good shortcut.

Verdict: ✯✯✯½ | 7/10

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