This hit & miss Judd Apatow A-list comedy earns some laughs, even when it gets sick.
“The Bubble” partly satirizes how we have been feeling about the “Jurassic Park” franchise, which Universal Studios renames “Jurassic World.” They’re dinosaurs doing the same things. At least, that’s how I felt with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”
This “Jurassic Park” franchise is known as “Cliff Beasts,” which has its A-list cast, in the past or in some future or universe (I can’t say for sure), fighting pterodactyls, and killing them, although for the new film, one of them believes that maybe violence isn’t the answer.
“The Bubble,” written and directed by Judd Apatow and co-written by Pam Brady (“South Park”), is also satirizing how the you know what pandemic is affecting the stars of its fictional film, and how it’s studio heads are desperate to make the new film, even if it means putting their lives at risk.
Last December, Adam McKay made the doomsday comedy “Don’t Look Up,” which was loosely inspired by how our planet is dying because of global warming. Despite it being nominated in the Best Picture category at the Oscars (and losing to the affective “CODA”), it didn’t really warm up to half us critics and audiences.
I had to bring that film up again for two reasons.
1.) Both these films are parodies of reality and current events.
2.) Both of them are Netflix entries.
“The Bubble” doesn’t rank with the directors’ best movies like “Knocked Up” or “The King of Staten Island,” because it has to feature some unlikable characters and the obligatory F-bombs, but it does earn a lot of laughs, and it’s able to aim at a target audience, who are tired of the pandemic and the results of it. I was concerned about how I would overall feel about it, but then again, I was tickled and I was able to relate to some of its topics.
In “The Bubble,” the cast members consist of Carol Cobb (Karen Gillan), who couldn’t do the last “Cliff Beasts” movie; Krystal Kris (Irs Apatow, the director’s second daughter), who is known as a TikTok star; Lauren Van Chance (Leslie Mann, Apatow’s wife), who resents Carol for ditching her cast members and plays a southern girl with a Susan Egan hairstyle; Dustin Mulray (David Duchovny), the leading man who is in an on-and-off relationship with Lauren; Sean Knox (Keegan-Michael Key), the co-star who offers some spiritual philosophies; Howie Frangopolous (Guz Kahn), who plays the comic relief character; and newcomer Dieder Bravo (Pedro Pascal).
They’re all in London to shoot the latest installment with a new director named Darren Eigan, who looks and sounds like Fred Armisen with Tommy Wiseau’s hair. They’re all in a bubble in an elaborate hotel, where they don’t test positive for blank, but for influenza. Then, many more problems occur. They want to leave, some of their characters have to be killed off or replaced by men in green suits. It’s practically a matter of life and death. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
The likable performances include Gillan when her character tries to have sense within her character while dealing with her own issues; Key when he use his material to stretch out his sense of humor; Duchovny when he takes on comedy outside his reach; and Armisen has his moments, even if we don’t agree with them.
The unlikable characters of the film consist of Mann, who has to portray the pushy and whiny actress and she’s usually able to thrive on her husband’s work, Galen Hopper as the TikTok star’s new friend, and Kate McKinnon (who was able to prove some of her worth in “Bombshell”) has to be the stupid and mean boss.
And you also get a supporting cast with Maria Baklova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) delivering some nice timing as a hotel concierge whom Dieder takes a liking to, Peter Serafinowicz as the “Cliff Beasts” producer, and others like John Lithgow, James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, Beck, and John Cena appearing in cameos.
“The Bubble” is a little long and it could have been less on the crass attitudes, but somehow, this comedy kept me watching. I mean it has laughs and it has themes that we could relate to, given the circumstances. I’ve done video chats with Gillan and Duchovny, and I asked them both how they dealt with the pandemic. Gillan was writing a story, and Duchovny was able to spend time with his family. And seeing them deal with their situations is actually a lot of fun. With all respect.
Streaming on Netflix Tomorrow
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