Starring: Karen Gillan, Fred Armisen, Keegan Michael Key, Iris Apatow, Pedro Pascal, Kate McKinnon, David Duchovny, and Leslie Mann.
Directed By: Judd Apatow
Where I Watched It: Netflix
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
The Plot: Set during the pandemic, a film crew and the actors involved try and complete the filming on the 6th film in a ridiculous franchise, and satire ensues.
What Works: There were a lot of people who didn’t like Don’t Look up, and that got a nomination for Best Picture. The thing about satire is that it is really hard, and almost never done correctly. That’s why, when it really lands, we remember those films. Dr Strangelove has largely stood the test of time because it was such a great representation of it’s time period, something that Don’t Look Up tried to mirror. And The Bubble is trying to do the same.
Audiences and critics hate this film. I did not. That being said, much like I felt about Don’t Look Up, I don’t think the film is 100% successful in what it sets out to do. There are some truly great moments of satire, and those are elevated by an absurdly talented cast, much like Don’t Look Up.
Karen Gillan is a stand out. Keegan Michael Key is fantastic. I particularly loved the airhead comment at the end when he realized the movie within the movie could be watched on TV screens, and he declares that he’s not a TV star. Nice. Fred Armisen showed up to play here, and Pedro Pascal is surprisingly effective in comedy. But Kate McKinnon steals every interaction and scene she has. She’s brilliant.
I actually wanted to watch this shitty film within a film. We keep cutting to it, and it seems awful, and hilarious, and I would totally watch it. I also love the absurd original song written for the film, Wings Of Stone by Adam Levine. It plays during the credits, and I was cracking up. It’s so stupid.
And I think that’s why everyone hates this movie so damn much, is that Judd Apatow doesn’t do this type of humor. he doesn’t make films where people projectile vomit all over the place, where we make jokes about shooting dinosaurs in the testicles, or try and find humor in someone wetting their pants, or someone vomiting into a toilet and needing to quick switch so they can get a diarrhea joke in there as well. This is not his style. It’s not his humor.
It felt a lot more Mike Judge, like Idiocracy than the guy who nuances his way through comedies like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Trainwreck. This is such a far cry, I almost wonder if he was blackmailed.
If you ignore the expectations of a Judd Apatow movie, and don’t walk in expecting elevated humor, and take this film for what it is, you might find it funny. Just maybe.
What Doesn’t Work: The bloated cast is at sometimes too hard to keep track of, and balancing all those characters makes it difficult to flesh them out instead of making them one dimensional. They end up representing a lot of the worst we think about actors, and some can be funny, but some of the jokes don’t work. And then at other times, it feels even too stupid for what it seems to want to be.
I know people are complaining about a pandemic comedy coming out in April, when we’re basically heading away from this type of thing, but sometimes it’s easy to laugh at something when it’s behind you, not when you’re going through it. I have seen a lot of other critics so far blasting this film, and I can understand their point of view. This film is really inconsistent, it’s by far the worst thing Judd Apatow has ever written or directed, and it’s baffling that he’s attached to this project.
All of that is totally valid. And the bodily fluid jokes, they just seem to keep propagating, and never stop, and it turns it into a Happy Madison production. literally, my biggest complaint about their most recent film, home Team, was a random scene where everyone just starts non sensically projectile vomiting. It can be funny when used at the right moment. And sparingly. It’s also the thing that gets over used, and in the wrong beats.
The Blind Perspective: All the problems I have with the audio description I also have with the film. They did the best job they could here. Sometimes, the dialogue is too fast, and keeps going, and the narrator can’t get a word in to help us understand how the scene is evolving. There are quick transitions where we barely get any narration for the same reason. There are scenes I don’t know which characters were in them or how many, simply because the film never let up.
But in the quieter scenes, the description scores. It nails the film-within-aa-film, which is impressive since those scenes are more action packed and science fiction oriented. This is the best possible audio description we could get for this film. It’s not enough, but that has more to do with the way the film is edited and the constant dialogue. We don’t want narration on top of dialogue, and this film has a lot of funny actors that want to be heard.
Final Thoughts: Judd Apatow, until now, was one of the most consistent directors for me. I loved every feature he knocked out, or at least I thought they were above average. This is a letdown, because he’s better than this. It feels like a different director was behind this, and it feels like a different writer. This is not a Judd Apatow film. i refuse to believe he wrote this, unless under duress.
However, not every joke is terrible. Some of the satire actually lands, and I did laugh out loud. I’m shocked that so many people haven’t found much to like here, because I did. I love this cast, they were all hilarious, when in the right moments. i want to see this shitty dinosaur film. And the original song in the credits was amazing, for all the wrong reasons perhaps, but hilarious.
my advice? Forget this has Judd Apatow attached to it. Throw out any ideas you might have had about this film going in, and just embrace it for what it is. Pretend there’s a Happy Madison logo in front, and you’ll leave quite impressed. I wish mike Judge had directed this, as it feels far more up his alley.
Final Grade: B-