I wasn’t sure that I’d have the energy to watch a film over the weekend thanks to Covid. Luckily, I managed to fit one in. For some reason, I decided that it would be a good idea to watch Netflix’s new pandemic film. It didn’t really feel as though 2022 was the best time for lockdown film. Mostly because most people are happily pretending that Covid has gone. Lockdowns alrady feel as though they’re old news. I get that it takes time to get a production going but they knew this going in. I had to find out just what Judd Apatow and co were thinking with this one.
Didn’t we all agree that we didn’t want a load of films, books and TV about the pandemic? I’m not suggesting that they just ignore it but we don’t need stories specifically about life during the pandemic. Not yet. We’re still getting over life in the actual pandemic that we don’t need fictional pandemic living. Save them for a few years when we’re over it. Or, at least, when life is so bad that we crave the comfort of social bubbles and lateral flow tests. It’s not even that I don’t think there isn’t comedy potential in the pandemic. There definitely is. It just needs to be done right. For some reason, The Bubble feels like it’s already out-of-date even though Covid-19 is still raging.
There’s something quite desperate about The Bubble. From the sheer number of TikTok dance routines to the huge cast of big-name stars and the Hollywood inside jokes. Although, I use the work jokes pretty loosely there. Despite its incredibly bloated runtime, there are few genuine laughs in this film. I know Judd Apatow isn’t known for his sophisticated humour but this is just far too inane. Full of hackneyed jokes and repetition. Clearly the rule here is saying the same thing over and over is a recipe for big laughs.
The film itself takes inspiration from the fact that Jurassic World Dominion was the first major film to start filming after lockdown. The spoof takes us to the set of Cliff Beasts 6: the latest film in a tired franchise about deadly dinosaurs and a band of intrepid humans who hunt them. We are taken through pre-shooting isolation, testing, shutdowns, actor revolts and green screen magic. This is a film that is trying so desperately to be current that it feels anything but. The end result is a mishmash of vignettes that don’t really feel connect apart from the fact that the cast and characters remain the same. I’d call it hit and miss but the lows faar outweigh the highs.
At least the film is a showcase for British talent. The UK side of the cast definitely standout beyond most of the Americans. If it weren’t for the ever delightful Kate McKinnon and Rob Delaney, the American side would barely register. Otherwise this is just a film that is far too long and nowhere near funny enough. I can see what it was trying to achieve but it lacks any heart. Apatow has moved into a more emotional type of comedy lately and this feels like a step back. The Bubble gets almost every call wrong. It’s cringey and downright dull.