Judd Apatow’s New Netflix Comedy Is The Worst Movie Of 2022
There is only been a few times when a movie made me feel physically upset. A documentary about a double murder, a mockumentary supposed to expose racial prejudice in America, and Judd Apatow The bubble.
As an avid fan of its cast, I looked forward to this comedic adventure, entering with a mind as open as the cookouts I’ve endured over the past two years. But what I found ranged from “knowingly privileged” to “downright offensive”. It’s not just Apatow’s failure – it’s his Cats. It’s not just a flop; it will soon become a staple of your bad movie night.
Pandemic Year 3
The bubbleThe premise is simple. A group of celebrities must self-isolate to film the sixth movie in a fictional dinosaur action franchise, Cliff Beasts, but hilarity ensues as security increases and viruses spread. The characters are what you’d expect from any show business satire – the drug addict, the wellness guru, the influencer – but the movie treats them like the most victimized people on the planet.
This is a major issue considering how the Covid-19 pandemic has killed over a million people. Why is it being used as comic fodder between characters – and a filmmaker – who are all incredibly privileged? The pandemic has caused worse problems than simply delaying and complicating film production. And even then, there are many other areas to explore in relation to the film industry.
The timing of this movie doesn’t go well either. As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in different parts of the world, The bubble oddly seems to be treating the pandemic with a sense of nostalgia – as if it’s a thing of the past and not part of our current reality.
Imagine all the people
While the vision of The bubble perhaps myopic, the cast is excellent. A big-name director like Apatow is sure to attract some stellar names, and this feature surrounding an action franchise has even attracted seasoned IP actors, like Karen Gillan and Pedro Pascal, fresh from the Disney machines of Star Wars and Marvel. David Duchovny plays the seasoned “franchise protector” and Keegan Michael-Key brings a woo-woo, Jared-Leto-esque vibe to the set.
Because the hotel where the actors are staying is in the UK, there are top British talents there as well. Guz Khan and Samson Kayo shine, just like they did in the HBO comedy, Our flag means death. Newcomer Harry Trevaldwyn pretty much secures a career as a character actor. Even Alex Owen and Ben Ashenden, better known as British alternative comedy duo The Pin, play the green screen actors who provide “lines of sight” for the Cliff Beasts. The highlight of the cast is undoubtedly Maria Bakalova, who has proven she can turn comedy gold out of anything, from Borat 2′It’s hilarious improvisation at that.
Of course, an “all-star cast” doesn’t necessarily mean flawless. It’s hard to ignore Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann, and daughter Iris (she’s not the one in Euphoria, it’s Maude), who both have leading roles that suit them well. The most glaring flaw is Fred Armisen, who plays a Sean Baker-esque iPhone filmmaker now tackling a blockbuster. In his shaggy wig he feels like a Portlandia character embedded in the plot.
And the Zoom cameos – oh, the Zoom cameos. Apatow almost found a way to cram even more celebrities into this movie than Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video. Kate McKinnon, Daisy Ridley, John Cena, and Rob Delaney are just a few who appear in the film. Cameos vary in success: Maria Bamford has an incredible moment as the Midwestern mother of TikTok star Kristal Kris, but another cameo from a musician had me rolling my eyes.
be our guest
As seen in The 40 year old virgin, Knocked up, Pineapple Express, Judd Apatow is definitely a director with a specific style. Corn The bubble unlike any of those movies. Instead of continuing his style, the tone is more like one of Christopher Guest’s iconic mockumentaries, like Best of Show Where Waiting for Guffman. The characters have their own disparate stories that intersect, and it all ends with an epilogue showing what happened to them in the months that followed.
But where the guest films differ is in how they follow “normal” people who aren’t usually the center of attention, like theater managers or small-town dog breeders — not the directors and stars of multi-million dollar blockbusters. The point of these films is to highlight relatable characters for everyone, not just world-class directors.
The characters and jokes of The bubble may be familiar to Judd Apatow but not to a wider Netflix audience. When Maria Bakalova’s character coos, “I’m going to live in your house in Beverly Hills,” and someone replies, “Actually, I live in Sherman Oaks!” it’s funny for people “in the business”, not for viewers at home. Most people don’t know what it’s like to make a movie before or during a pandemic, so we’re never in on the joke.
At least we tried
One of the film’s final moments has the character of Fred Armisen, the director of Cliff Beasts 6, commenting on how they at least tried to make a movie and offered something to distract people during this difficult time. But is The bubble really entertain his audience? It was more of a reminder of the horrific effects this virus has had on us and the extreme discrepancies between the pandemic experiences of the average Netflix viewer and the average Judd Apatow actor.
It’s not like you can’t do a pandemic comedy. Watch shows like Hypermarket Where mythical quest, which told stories of essential workers and people working from home. It wasn’t a bunch of Hollywood actors playing “suffering” Hollywood actors in a fancy hotel. There are staff members in the cast – what is their life like? We’ll never know.
Perhaps the best way to tell the story of show business in “difficult times” is simply not to. In a few decades, The bubble can be interesting in hindsight, but for now it feels like a global crisis was just a scenario for Judd Apatow.
If nothing else, we now have our undisputed worst movie of 2022, and it’s unlikely to be dethroned.
The bubble premieres on Netflix on April 1, 2022.