The Bubble Review: Judd Apatow's pandemic themed comedy is a joke stretched too far
Judd Apatow's comedy film takes on a film set of a sci-fi franchise amid a full-blown pandemic. Read Pinkvilla's review below.
The Bubble Cast: Leslie Mann, David Duchovny, Pedro Pascal
The Bubble Director: Judd Apatow
The Bubble Stars: 2/5
To think that Judd Apatow thought it was a good time now to watch a movie about Hollywood celebrities being quarantined on set together to finish a crappy franchise film when COVID-19 restrictions all over the world are currently being lifted completely seems like a rather odd choice. You don't leave prison to come out and watch a movie set in the same place, yes, not even a film as good as Shawshank Redemption. In the same way, it seems a tad underwhelming now to watch a film about COVID-19 lockdown, just when you're finally being freed of it.
Despite the fact that the concept of making a film about a massive studio franchise continuing its shooting amid COVID-19 with a bunch of self-obsessed celebrities being stuck together in a bubble does sound interesting, The Bubble certainly plays out this theme far and wide, thus leaving you with little laughs scattered through the rest of the bonkers ideas that pop into Apatow's brain.
The Bubble takes inspiration from Jurassic Park or should we say the new-age Jurassic World franchise for its meta-movie element as we see actress Carol Cobb (Karen Gillan) reluctantly returning for the sixth instalment of Cliff Beast which also stars Lauren (Leslie Mann) and Dustin (David Duchovny), a divorced celebrity couple, the self-help book author and actor Sean (Keegan-Michael Key, the drugged-up Oscar winner Dieter (Pedro Pascal) and Tik Tok star Krystal Kris (Iris Apatow). These celebrities are being babysat by producer Gavin (Peter Serafinowicz) who constantly has his boss, Kate McKinnon, a studio executive breathing down his neck to get the film's shooting wrapped up come what may.
From unusual safety protocols to shooting mishaps, the sci-parody takes us through multiple storylines as these celebrities deal with an exhausting shooting schedule that gets marred by COVID-19 positive cases, an influenza outbreak and every possible roadblock as each cast member tries to abandon ship at some point given the dreary circumstances of being locked down in a London hotel. Much like Fred Armisen's Darren Eige, the director of Cliff Beats, Judd Apatow's confidence seems above the roof while creating cringeworthy content. What The Bubble actually serves though is dated humour because nothing about the lockdowns and quarantines seems funny anymore after having spent over two years of watching TikToks and Reels about the same.
There is a sense of uninspired comedy here which seems strange given how Apatow puts together some of the funniest people. The whole concept of spoilt celebrity behaviour is so done to death that it further adds to your disinterest in the already forcefully quirky characters. With every character seemingly performing their own sketch in this film, hardly any land but there's definitely the one with Harry Trevaldwyn's COVID protocol officer that works. Going by how the film is made, it seems it's made with the consideration that the audience may hit play and pause whenever they want and even if they do end up missing a part of it, it shouldn't hamper their experience. The two-hour-long movie could practically be split into separate portions in itself considering it lacks the cohesiveness to bring all the stories together in the right way. While trying to cover every quarantine experience, it seems Apatow packs too much to actually enjoy or witness the transition that happened from it being "abnormal" to the "new normal" for us.
From actors trying to re-write scripts to celebrities on hallucinogens, every trope of what is associated with the celebrity life is played out here and nothing out of it seems to bring out the laughs. Among the decently funnier bits in the film is the love angle between, the hotel's front-desk person Anika (Maria Bakalova) and Dieter (Pedro Pascal). Even as Apatow casts his own daughter in a rather interesting role of a TikTok influencer, it's a missed opportunity at how much more this character could have offered.
ALSO READ: Karen Gillan RECALLS crying 'full tears' after reading the script of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3
With such a massive cast consisting of Karen Gillan, Michael-Keegan Key, Leslie Mann, David Duchovny, Guz Khan, Pedro Pascal, Maria Bakalova, and Vir Das on board, the film seems a bit stuffy as not everyone gets to perform up to their potential. Among those who do stand out though include Kate McKinnon who nails the studio executive part. Also impressive with what material he has is Fred Armisen. His body language as that of a "Sundance-winning" film director is precise. Iris Apatow also impresses at the TikToker whose dance routines make for some of the livelier moments in the otherwise dull film. There's also a John Cena cameo that adds to the fun.
Judd Apatow's The Bubble seems like a film that is conceptually interesting but is rundown by old jokes and classic comedy tropes that don't blend well with its pandemic theme. In the end, the film feels leaves us with little to hold on to as it fails to bring out the laughs in the name of serving a lighter take on the pandemic situation.
A writer with 6 years of experience, addicted to coffee, films, and sarcasm. Currently exploring all things Hollywood...Read more