The Bubble

The Bubble directed by Judd Apatow, starring Karen Gillan

The Bubble examples just how unfunny comedy can be when it tries too hard.

Released on April 1st, audiences may be mistaken to assume The Bubble is a joke at their expense.

From the prolonged runtime to the entire vacuum of laughs, The Bubble, directed by Judd Apatow will most definitely be a memorable part of the pandemic, similar to Gal Gadot’s rendition of Imagine.

Utterly tasteless and misses the mark by a country mile. A questionable decision by Netflix for sure.

The Bubble is meant to be a quirky satire about the pandemic, and how the media industry came together through adversity, bubbling to create content to keep audiences sane, even at the expense of the actor’s sanity, with the film’s characters banding together to create the fake CG thriller Cliff Beasts 6.

However, when other productions including Staged, People You May Know, and Don’t Look Up can be filmed during the pandemic to a higher standard, and with better laughs, it makes the awful jokes in The Bubble entirely inexcusable.

With a bizarre collection of actors out of work from the pandemic, Apatow ropes in Hollywood names: Karen Gillan, Pedro Pascal, Maria Bakalova, Guz Khan, Fred Armisen, Keegan-Michael Key, Samson Kayo, Leslie Mann, David Duchovny, Rob Delaney and Kate McKinnon with cameos from John Cena and James McAvoy all of whom have more talent combined than we would be made to believe they example in The Bubble.

The overly-cringe disappointment instead feels like a prolonged Saturday Night Live sketch, though Samson Kayo and Gus Khan are both the stand out comic performances with their larger than life roles.

Despite Apatow finding success as a comic writer and director with previous films 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, it seems that The Bubble forgot to include the straight man for the jokes to land.

The one character whose role is meant to mirror the audiences’ understanding of the rules and comedy laws. However, each character is as flawed, stupid and bland as the next with every name forgettable, and motives lost.

Instead, the film feels like it is trying to emulate a deliberately unfunny schlocky B-Movie from the 80s like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

Though, if that is what the film was trying to accomplish, the question then becomes whether a film of this calibre is really what audiences are going to want to consume thirty years later when tastes and cultures have changed drastically.

Especially when, as I mention, so many better productions have been released over the height of the pandemic, covering the very nature The Bubble tries to address doing so with greater consistency and understanding the impact and legacy discussing the pandemic will have in years to come.

Finally, it reminded me of when an amateur filmmaker attempts to make a self-aware film about the art of filmmaking, thinking they’re the first to do so, but the novelty wears thin quick, and the film becomes substanceless without a clear direction – a disappointing realisation when Apatow should know better.

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By Conor Riley

Conor is the Founder and Editor for Cinamore, a publication focused on giving power back to journalists. As a portmanteau of the word 'Cinema' and the Italian word for love 'Amore', Cinamore aims to highlight the love that we all carry for the art of the moving image.


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