Pandemic piss takes has serious consequences for boring

Hollywood’s reaction to the pandemic was hilarious. Even though the last few years were so tragic for so many, we also witnessed Batman closing down a film set to recover from illness. Tom Cruise took on COVID along with two others. Mission: ImpossibleGal Gadot and movies convince all her friends to cringe while she sings ‘Imagine’.

We are here! The Bubble, Judd Apatow’s new meta-movie satire about the weirdest time in Hollywood history. Inspiration from the somewhat absurd production of Jurassic World: Dominion – a film that forced its entire cast and crew into a “bubble” in an English country hotel so they could carry on shooting in lockdown – Apatow has assembled a fantastic cast of A-listers and friends for his take on the pandemic. Unfortunately, it’s not very funny.

It all begins so well. Jurassic World is here “Cliff Beasts”, a long-running dinosaur franchise that’s struggling to stay fresh. Money’s tight and so the sixth sequel has reloacted to England to try and keep the studio afloat at all costs. As the cast turn up at a stately home, they’re all swabbed and masked and told to quarantine for two weeks. Cue a great montage that condenses Bo Burnham’s Inside to 30 seconds of eating/wanking/bingeing/crying.

Karen Gillan plays Carol Cobb in ‘The Bubble’. CREDIT : Netflix

As for the all-star cast, there’s Karen Gillan as Carol Cobb, an action star who reluctantly returns to the dino series after making a misjudged turkey about the Israel/Palestine conflict. Iris Apatow (Judd’s daughter) is Krystal Kris, a TikTok influencer who’s never acted before. Then there’s Pedro Pascal’s Dieter Bravo, an over-seasoned Hollywood vet channelling Benicio del Toro; Leslie Mann’s insecure second-string star, the British comic relief (Guz Khan), David Duchovny’s Jeff Goldblum stand-in and Keegan-Michael Key’s pumped-up lead (with Dwayne Johnson’s positivity and Tom Cruise’s love of a good cult).

Around them we have the film’s crew (led by Fred Armisen’s indie director made-good and Peter Serafinowicz’s mad producer) along with everyone else stuck in the same hotel. That’s including love-sick concierges, over-enthusiastic safety advisors and randy international footballers. Add a few big-name surprises cameos, and you have a comedy that is full of talent and great ideas. It’s frustrating because it rarely works.

There are a few highlights (Iris’s celebrity TikTok dances, one hilarious drug trip cameo, Pascal being a letch and Gillan’s spiral of madness) but most of the film bombs hard enough to seem slightly embarrassing. Apatow is great when he’s making movies about normal people, and he’s even better when he’s producing someone else’s script, but here he just seems overwhelmed. To cover the jokes, he resorts to his famous friends, dino dicks, and musical routines. Someone’s probably going to make a great Hollywood satire about the last few years of the pandemic, but this definitely isn’t it.

More Details

  • Director:Judd Apatow
  • Starring: Karen Gillan, Pedro Pascal, Leslie Mann
  • Release date:April 1 (Netflix).

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