I like Judd Apatow a lot. Most of his movies range from pretty good to downright great. And even though his films are consistently about 20-30 minutes too long, I've always found him an appealing comedic storyteller. The idea of him making a movie about moviemaking in the heart of the pandemic seemed like a great idea. And there are so many famous people in this movie. I figured there's no way this many talented people could sign on to be part of a bad movie. I was correct because this is not a bad movie—this is a disaster.
"The Bubble" is so shockingly terrible that if it turned out Judd Apatow made this movie as some weird Andy Kauffman-esque performance art where he simply tried to make the worst movie possible to see what he could get away with, it wouldn't surprise me. It's incompetent in ways that most movies aren't. You would think that a film about the film industry made by a person who has been a part of the industry for decades would at least be somewhat clever with its commentary. But no, this movie doesn't have a creative bone in its body. The level of cringe in this movie is absurd. I'm still trying to figure out what Judd Apatow was trying to say here. All the film does is just point out obvious shit. "Remember Covid?" "Remember when we made movies during Covid?" "Do you guys know what Tik Tok is?" "Sometimes movies aren't good. ISN'T THAT CRAZY?" It feels like what "Tropic Thunder" would've been if a seventh-grader wrote it.
This film has many issues, but it starts and ends with the script (even though I'm not sure there was one). This entire movie is loaded with unfunny improv, unnecessary montages, lame-ass attempts at commentary, and annoying, annoying, ANNOYING characters. The amount of talented people who come out of this movie looking like hacks is staggering. It's almost an achievement to put Pedro Pascal, Keegan-Michael Key, and Karen Gillan in the same movie and give them nothing of substance to do. There are so many famous people sprinkled in throughout this movie that I openly cringed and said "O no" when John Lithgow showed up. I'm not saying improv can't be funny because it can. Some of the funniest moments in film history were improvised. So much of "The Bubble" is an improvisational comedy, except everyone involved left out that pesky "comedy" part. I mean, why should one expect to laugh during a comedy film?
This film falls into the category of spectacular failure that only comes along once in a blue moon. It's up there with Rob Reiner's "North" and Tom Hooper's "Cats" as one of the worst films ever directed by a good director. It's so bad that a part of me almost recommends it in the way I'd recommend the movies I just referenced. There's something special about watching a film with so many talented people that turns out to be this misguided. But ultimately, the film ends up suffering from the most significant problem any movie can suffer from. It's just dull in the second half, which is the result of Judd Apatow AGAIN making a movie 30 minutes too long. So I can't recommend it as a "so bad it's good" kind of movie. Please avoid it.