Netflix’s The Bubble Is Really Not Very Good


I always thought that I liked Judd Apatow movies. The sheer hilarity and heart of his 2005 breakout The 40-Year-Old Virgin had such a lasting impact on me that I still get excited whenever I see his name attached to a project. And he has been “attached” to many a funny movie. Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Superbad, Step Brothers, Bridesmaids, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Big Sick, all count Apatow as a producer.

Iris Apatow's character goes face to face with a baby dinosaur, and teaches it how to dance, in The Bubble.

But his most recent release, Netflix’s The Bubble, might be the one that finally broke the Apatow streak. Because let me tell you, The Bubble is not very good. In fact, The Bubble is very, very bad.

Something Funny About The Bubble Bursting

The Bubble is ostensibly about the making of a feature film in the early days of the pandemic. A film called Cliff Beasts 6. As you can already tell from the title, the film itself is no Mission: Impossible 7, but the making of a B-grade action adventure is not really the problem here. Apatow pulled together such a tremendous cast of comedic talent that will have you asking yourself why the hell they are in this movie. It’s a question I think you’ll end up repeating to yourself throughout the movie’s two hour runtime.

There are the inevitable production bubble woes, two week hotel room isolation jokes, the breaking of said production bubbles and isolation, a runaway script with a bumbling up and coming Sundance winning director, a heartless film producer, an even more heartless studio head, a wellness coach, and health and safety protocols. But none of that seemed to really matter. The Bubble feels like a movie being made and written on the fly, by a bunch of people locked away together while in a high end resort, about a bunch of people making a movie while locked away together in a high end resort. There are also two TikTok dance numbers in the movie. No, seriously.

This is the second TikTok video in the movie The Bubble.

None of it is funny. Not when Guz Khan’s character loses it and bolts from the production. Not when we’re watching a montage of Karen Gillan’s Carol trying to keep herself occupied during her two week quarantine. Not when the cast are randomly deepfaked as they trip balls having taken drugs. Not when we’re watching Pedro Pascal’s Dieter overdose on said drugs after doing their second, on set, TikTok dance video. Not when the remaining cast stop to watch a TikTok video of a monkey being bathed in a sink while in the middle of their getaway, being chased by an overeager (and unnecessarily violent) production security team.

Oh What Could Have Been

The idea behind The Bubble feels like a solid one, especially as we’re all just about coming out on the other side of this unprecedented pandemic. But The Bubble also feels like an excuse for Apatow and his family (his wife and daughter are in it) to hang out in the U.K. (the movie is set on a sprawling estate in England) with just about whichever actor that was in town and available at the time.

What could have been a fun comedy romp about the making of a movie, with the production woes that the COVID pandemic brought, ends up being just another Netflix dud of a comedy. There could have been a fun elaborate April Fools’ Day joke here, but releasing The Bubble really wasn’t it.

The Cliff Beasts hexalogy could have been a funny joke. But we got The Bubble instead.

With all of the talent in this movie, it feels like the real bubble that this production was in would have been a lot more fun. Pedro Pascal, David Duchovny, Keegan-Michael Key, Karen Gillan, Leslie Mann, Peter Serafinowicz, Maria Bakalova, and Fred Armisen are all people I think I’d love to hang out with in a production bubble.

I just don’t know if watching The Bubble is the price I’d be willing to pay to do it.

The Bubble is now streaming on Netflix. I guess you can watch it if you really want to.

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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