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April 24, 2022

The Bubble is an example of what happens when a good concept collides with bad execution

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The Bubble1/2

Starring: Karen Gillan, Pedro Pascal, Leslie Mann, David Duchovny, Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Armisen, Iris Apatow, Guz Khan, Maria Bakalova, Kate McKinnon, and Peter Serafinowicz

Directed by: Judd Apatow

Tagline: Where will you be when disaster strikes?


iven the talent associated with the project both in front of and behind the camera as well as the inherent potential of its core premise, you would have every reason to think The Bubble would be an amusing, if perhaps a tad silly, meta satire on pandemic life and the privileges of Hollywood. That is precisely why it is utterly disappointing that the film is an unfunny bore-fest instead.

Judd Apatow’s latest cinematic venture finds the director attempting to create a pandemic blockbuster about … well, the pandemic and blockbusters. But its dull script is devoid of any incisive commentary that goes beyond surface level while an overlong running time drains the drama of focus and turns the viewing experience into a chore.

The film finds a group of actors – career slump suffering Carol (Karen Gillan), former couple Lauren (Leslie Mann) and Dustin (David Duchovny), indifferent veteran performer Dieter (Pedro Pascal), wellness guru Sean (Keegan-Michael Key), comic relief Howie (Guz Khan), and TikToker Krystal (Iris Apatow) – stuck in a pandemic bubble in an English country hotel, attempting to finish the sixth instalment of the wildly popular Cliff Beasts franchise.

But things soon begin to fall apart as everyone involved struggles with life in the bubble. It’s a pity, however, that none of the resulting shenanigans are particularly amusing.

Things drag on for way too long, clocking in at two hours that somehow end up feeling like four. The cast is stuffed to the gills with terrific performers – obvious nepotism aside – but their talent is wasted on a poor script. The writing is bad.

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The jokes fail to find punchlines. An odd gag might manage to deliver the occasional chuckle, but there isn’t much here that qualifies as impressive comedy.

There is so much The Bubble could have done with the concept of movies being filmed during the pandemic while satirising the privileged. But there is no bite to the humour and no sharpness to the observations. What we’ve been given instead is a damp squib that falls flat at almost every turn.

It isn’t the worst thing you’ll ever watch, but there is nothing about the movie that actually merits your attention. And perhaps the most frustrating thing here is that the project actually had so much going for it and could have easily been so much better.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

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