THE BUBBLE (NETFLIX) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: The Bubble is a comedy about a group of actors and actresses stuck inside a pandemic bubble at a hotel attempting to complete a sequel to an action franchise film about flying dinosaurs.
What was Judd Apatow thinking when he made a movie liked The Bubble? Is it a statement on insecure, over-pampered Hollywood stars during a pandemic? A clever satire on the Jurassic Park franchise? Or a mere self-indulgent exercise sponsored by Netflix?
We tend to think it’s geared towards the last option because the latest self-penned, directed comedy from Apatow is a complete hot mess that is strangely a far cry from his The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and This Is 40.
The Bubble involves a group of egoistic, problematic actors and actresses staying together in a luxury hotel in the UK while filming the sixth instalment of "Cliff Beasts" (a fictional successful movie franchise about prehistoric creatures). Among them is Carol Cobb (Karen Gillian), an actress who reluctantly has to join back the franchise after the failure of her last project, Dieter (Peddro Pascal) who has both a drug and sex addiction issue, ex-married couple Lauren (Leslie Mann) and Dustin (David Duchovny), actor turned self-help guru Sean (Keegan Michael-Key), the movie’s comic relief Howie (Guz Khan) and young TikToker superstar Krystal (Iris Apatow).
For a movie that runs over two hours, The Bubble has probably 10 minutes of funny gags before it runs out of steam. Apatow attempts to poke fun at the pandemic with jokes involving quarantine protocols and swabbing forgetting there’s already lots of covid-19 related memes on social media already.
Then strangely, he turned his attention to his “actors” and “actresses”, painting Carol Cobb as someone who couldn’t hold on to a man while Dieter tries his best to seduce the hotel receptionist for sex. At the same time, Lauren and Dustin reconciles for a brief period of time before breaking off because of a disagreement over their adopted son. It’s like a series of unfunny skits stitched together to form a movie. So much and so little. And talk about nepotism, we have Judd’s daughter, Iris doing at least two pointless TikTok dance segments to fill up the runtime.
In-between all the excess subplots, the biggest laughs are actually reserved for the supposedly behind-the-scenes making of "Cliff Beasts". Greenscreen, cheap stunts and hilarious exchanges over the script between Dustin and former Sundance indie filmmaker Darren Eigan played by the excellent Fred Armisen. Even Kate McKinnon pops in occasionally as a studio executive overseeing the project. Despite all the wonderful talents involved, The Bubble feels like a discarded comedy from major studios. It’s often dull, tedious and wrapped in a hollow bubble.
Review by Linus Tee