The Bubble revolves around the making of the sixth instalment in the “23rd biggest action franchise of all time”, Cliff Beasts. Think of a D-grade Jurassic Park, only with flying dinosaurs. Set within the early pre-vaccine days of the pandemic, the film shoot is restricted to a remote estate in England. Things quickly devolve into chaos as the quarantine protocols, as well as their own individual egos, derail the shoot.
There is a gigantic cast of characters in this flick. Among the crew include Carol Cobb (Karen Gillan), returning to the series after a box office bomb; the frequently on-and-off couple Dustin Mulray (David Duchovny) and Lauren Van Chance (Leslie Mann); rising TikTok star Krystal Kris (Iris Apatow); the spiritually-minded Sean Knox (Keegan-Michael Key); comedic relief Frankie Frangopolous (Gaz Khan); and veteran character actor Dieter Bravo (Pedro Pascal). And that’s just the film crew. That’s not even counting the indie darling director (Fred Armisen), uncaring studio exec (Kate McKinnon), the resort staff, or the producer (Peter Serafinowicz) who has to wrangle all of these personalities together.
The Bubble attempts to be a Tropic Thunder-style satire on Hollywood dealing with the pandemic combined with an improv-heavy style similar to Christopher Guest films like Best in Show. The problem is that very little of the movie’s genuinely funny or biting. The satirical elements lack any real bite to them. We’re already in our third year of the pandemic, and all these jokes surrounding social distancing and isolating have already felt stale a year ago.
“Running at over 2 hours long, The Bubble feels like it’s spinning its wheels a lot of the time to quickly diminishing returns.”
Not to mention, as much as the movie wants to show entitled celebrities don’t know how to deal with the pandemic like the rest of us, none of it ends up being any more ridiculous than real life events like that awful Imagine cover from years ago. Running at over 2 hours long, The Bubble feels like it’s spinning its wheels a lot of the time to quickly diminishing returns. Some running gags and subplots will go on for much longer than they already need to, and it feels like several of the cast members don’t get all that much to do.
That’s not to say The Bubble is completely devoid of laughs. Keegan-Michael Key and Pedro Pascal deliver a handful of chuckles, and there are a handful of amusing cameos. It’s nice to see Judd Apatow go back to making a purely silly comedy after a run of mostly dramedies. Sadly, the stale jokes and bloated runtime make it a movie that’s immediately forgettable the moment the credits roll.