What do you get when an out-of-touch director directs an insufferably awful screenplay? You’re given a painfully long film that feels as if it should have never left the drawing board. Entering the pool of films, we have The Bubble, directed by Judd Apatow. And there is something about Apatow’s directing that has always rubbed me the wrong way, although somewhat entertaining most of the time, the majority of his films have always felt the same in terms of writing and storytelling. His screenplays and overall films are made for those who clearly desire films containing simplistic plots and stories to turn the brain off for a while.
His filmography very much lacks variety and it’s been showing for the last decade, but even so, his projects have garnered mass amounts of profit, and audiences usually always tune in as people crave stories depicting the mundane problems of neurotic characters. But Apatow is however one of the more iconic directors from the 2000s with such notable works as The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up were decade-defining films/comedies that were release made around that decade. But here’s the thing, that era of comedy where raunchy, sharp, off-the-wall humor, is comes off as corny and wasteful this time around.
There was a reason those films worked at the time, and it was because it was the trend to write films with thin storylines and feature the same funny actors to entertain. But as years have passed, audiences genuinely want more from the film they’re watching, whether it be impactful writing or characters written with an arc and characterization. Once Netflix first released the first trailer for The Bubble, the excitement was stagnant for the most part seeing as Judd Apatow was the lead director. In the film, we follow a group of actors ready to shoot the 6th installment of a beloved franchise, but the only problem is that there is a pandemic. So as a solution, they’re isolated from the world and contractually obligated to live in a hotel until the shoot is finished.
To start, the aspects of this film that work are extremely minimal and are almost shadowed by the horrendous decision-making of Apatow and Pam Brady. From beginning to end, this film is filled to the brim with dangerously unfunny jokes, from naive pop culture references to even eye-rolling penis jokes, the film manages to destroy any hint of potential worth finding. It’s obvious that Apatow is a huge fan of allowing the cast to ad-lib, and although it can be done right, it becomes mind-numbingly frustrating when it feels like every line and joke is being improvised and done poorly.
There are multiple instances where, what feels like a throwaway joke, is extended for almost 5 minutes of screentime and once you begin to notice this, picking up on it will become a subconscious act. And one of the biggest problems with this film is the pacing, which has always been a problem in other Apatow films. Apatow desperately needs an editor, and this film is a perfect example of poor pacing. Since this film stretches over 2 hours, and the plot is so linear, it becomes a clown car of nonstop bad jokes and scenes that go on for way too long. At least 40 minutes should have been cut, but unfortunately, whatever was running through the creator’s minds did not take the time to make any decent decisions. The fact that this film was even considered to be made is staggering, and now it is released to the public for some poor souls to endure.