By Jack Deegan
Have you ever wondered what it was like making a movie during the pandemic? Maybe some questions are better off unanswered because unfortunately, award-winning director Judd Apatow’s latest movie, “The Bubble” was released on April 1 on Netflix.
The movie follows a troubled film crew attempting to film the sixth installment in the immensely popular “Cliff Beasts” franchise, only they keep running into issues as they film during the height of the pandemic inside a quarantine bubble. Chaos ensues as they deal with shutdowns, each other, and their own emotional baggage.
The story itself is built on a really intriguing premise that I was excited to see. While the pandemic itself is still a very touchy subject itself that the majority of viewers stray away from since film often serves as a form of escapism, I think a behind-the-scenes look at making a movie can make for a very funny film. It starts out pretty interesting too, but unfortunately as time goes on, the movie becomes increasingly chaotic and loses sight of its original storyline to focus more on the absurdity of it all. The central idea that these egotistical celebrities cannot get along and need to work together to make a movie work is a cool idea, but the movie forgets about that idea for the majority of it because they have to do their jokes.
One of the biggest things holding the film back from succeeding is the lack of interesting characters with actual story arcs. Each character has their own quirk to set them apart from each other, but there isn’t anything to grab onto that makes them interesting. The script completely wastes the all-star cast, which includes Pedro Pascal, Keegan-Michael Key, Karen Gillan and a number of surprising cameos, by giving them barely anything to work with. They’re all just there, along for the ride, and nobody goes through any major changes throughout the film at all. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem in a movie that is supposed to be a comedy since most people are just coming to laugh, but the problem with that is that the movie isn’t very funny.
There were definitely a handful of times when I was amused and let out a small chuckle, but the comedy itself was incredibly disappointing and underwhelming. The majority of the jokes are set on a green screen and are painfully unfunny. With the film's premise parodying the production of oversaturated blockbuster movie franchises like "Jurassic Park", they tend to stay away from making jokes about the filmmaking process itself. The humor is focused more on the characters themselves and, more often than not, those jokes completely miss the mark. The film wasn’t all bad because when it worked, it was amusing. But when it was bad, it was very bad.
Coming in at a runtime of two hours and six minutes, the film definitely runs long. Had it been cut down to a tight 90 minutes, then perhaps it would have worked a lot better with proper pacing. Unfortunately, it’s overstuffed with uninteresting material that serves no purpose to the film besides to pad the runtime and be funny. Since it isn’t even funny, it’s truly purposeless.
“The Bubble” is a movie that I really wanted to like and one that I was excited about, but that bubble was ultimately burst as the movie is overall a chaotic unfunny mess that loses sight of its original premise, consequently wasting its star-studded cast.