The Bubble: Review
The Bubble Synopsis: The cast (Karen Gillan, Keegan- Michael Key, Iris Apatow, Leslie Mann, Pedro Pascal, and David Duchovny) and crew of a blockbuster action franchise attempt to shoot a sequel while quarantined at a posh hotel.
A group of A-list actors finds themselves shacked up filming a disposable blockbuster during the pandemic in Judd Apatow’s satire, The Bubble. Apatow remains an integral voice in comedy, blazing pathways on the big (Knocked Up and The King of Staten Island) and small (Girls and Freaks and Geeks) screens alike through his brand of sincere comedies.
His winning track record inspires hope that Apatow could elevate one of cinema’s most tired trends – pandemic-based content. Let’s be honest, most of these films utilized the past two years of turmoil just to elicit a cheap reaction from audiences (the horrendous Songbird comes to mind). With The Bubble, Apatow sinks to shocking new lows in a laugh-free, cynically-assembled romp.
It’s a befuddling experience from start to finish as audiences witness one of Hollywood’s most celebrated auteurs ignore his trademark abilities. In the mold of star-studded spoofs like Tropic Thunder, The Bubble vyes hard for thoughtful reflections on modern Hollywood trends – a culture that finds celebrities reducing themselves in cynical, big-budget camp while trying to appease the masses through social media.
None of Apatow’s attempts at insights present much thought or genuine reflection. While punching down at trends even the most casual of movie fans could grasp onto, Apatow creates a scattershot depiction of Hollywood norms that fails in articulating a thoughtful thesis. His trademark eye for sentimentality is nonexistent, opting for a more calculated approach that robs the material of any humanity. The auteur is not saying anything particularly insightful here, leaving all of the responsibility on the jokes to conjure an engaging experience.
The Bubble is as aggressively unfunny as it gets. For a film compiled solely of vignette skits, Apatow finds himself missing the plate with each comedic fastball he throws. Every TikTok dance and crass pratfall feels like Apatow is scrapping the bottom of the barrel in terms of comedic material. The cast of charismatic stars also finds themselves stuck playing one-dimensional cliches of shallow Hollywood celebrities – a choice from Apatow that never takes advantage of the cast’s versatile skill set. Everyone seems to be mugging at the screen without knowing what to do with their flatly-conceived parts.
It hurts for me to say this, but The Bubble marks Judd Apatow’s worst feature film to date. I hope Apatow sticks to his strengths more when he eventually moves on from this wayward dud.