FILM REVIEW: THE BUBBLE
Release Date: 1st April 2022
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Cast: Karen Gillan, Iris Apatow, Vir Daz, Fred Armisen
Written by: Judd Apatow. Pam Brady
Cinematography: Ben Smithard
``it shouldn't be watched; it should be flushed``
The best way to describe Judd Apatow’s latest affront to comedy is Tropic Thunder with all the funny bits removed. The Bubble is heroically terrible. It’s monumentally bad. Not to put too fine a point on it, The Bubble is complete and utter crap. The fact that it’s been dropped on Netflix should tell you all you need to know.
The story is undemanding. The sixth instalment of a long-running sci-fi franchise called “Cliff Beasts” is about to go into production. Principal photography is taking place under strict Covid protocols, so the extended cast have to bubble together at a posh hotel in England for two weeks. And that’s about it.
It’s doubtful that Apatow started production of The Bubble with a finished script. In fact, it’s doubtful that he finished production with a finished script. Plot points are introduced, then unceremoniously dumped. None of the cast display an ounce of consistency and inter-character dynamics change from one scene to the next. A few of them just disappear completely, without explanation. Who can say if this is because the actors’ scheduled commitment to the project ran out, or Apatow decided the character was going nowhere?
None of it makes any logical sense and it just meanders aimlessly towards the two-plus-hour conclusion. There’s a drug montage every twenty minutes (write what you know…), TikTok jokes that are dated before the movie has even finished. and for some inexplicable reason, there’s a bit halfway through where everyone starts dancing. At one point, Beck shows up and sings. The Bubble can barely be described as a movie at all. It’s nothing more than a collection of raw and half-baked ideas thrown at the wall and seeing if it sticks..
Of course, humour is subjective, but it’s difficult to fathom who on earth would find any of this in the slightest bit funny. Perhaps someone who has just been released from a North Korean work farm, subjected to nothing but propaganda videos for the last ten years? The Bubble is not in the slightest bit funny, but the worst part of it is that it takes its own sweet time being not funny. For reasons known only to Apatow himself, he is incapable of making a comedy that is shorter than Lawrence of Arabia. It’s quite common to hear scriptwriters complaining about having to cut out good material, or “cutting muscle”. That is not the case here. I wouldn’t know where to stop cutting.
There is one genuinely funny bit, and that’s a YouTube video of a monkey taking a bath. There, I’ve saved you the trouble of watching the movie. You can thank me later.
There’s a bit at the very end where Fred Armisen’s beleaguered director says “At least we tried to make a movie, and they can’t judge us for that”. Well… judge we can, and judge we will. Apatow coming clean to his audience and admitting that he’s made a piece of crap does not absolve him from blame. He could have chosen not to make the piece of crap in the first place. The Bubble shouldn’t be watched; it should be flushed.