Bubble Boy

"Weak"

Bubble Boy Review


It's difficult to expect much from a director whose greatest accomplishments to date are a handful of "award-winning" TV commercials, as is the case with Bubble Boy director Blair Hayes. That said, Hayes's feature film debut lives up to expectations, coming off mainly as equal parts offensive and moronic. But occasionally, Bubble Boy transcends its substandard roots with glimmers of humor and scathing social commentary.

Those moments of intelligence are delivered mostly by the film's two stars, Jake Gyllenhall as the immuno-deficient Jimmy and Swoosie Kurtz as his over-protective, hyper religious, Reagan-loving mother. Gyllenhall's sweet-natured delivery of Jimmy's hilariously naïve narration serves as the backbone for an otherwise flimsy coming-of-age story: Jimmy is a Bubble Boy, a kid born without immunity who could die if he comes in contact with a single germ -- a plight explored more seriously in the John Travolta TV movie Boy in the Plastic Bubble and less so on Seinfeld.

His mom home-schools Jimmy, filling his head with wildly twisted conservative propaganda and anti-sexual messages, until he's befriended by Chloe (Marley Shelton), the beautiful girl next door. Jimmy falls in love with Chloe, but is afraid that his love will literally kill him, as evidenced in a scene when she drunkenly tries to enter his bubble for a kiss. But when Chloe decides to marry her high school boyfriend, Jimmy builds a bubble suit and embarks on a hijinks-addled cross-country voyage to stop the wedding by professing his love.

The offensive bits have little to do with Jimmy's rare handicap (regardless of what the film's protesters would have you believe), but instead center on outrageous racial stereotypes, including a screaming Chinese strip club owner and a devout East Indian Hindi. But even if you find stereotype humor funny, it's hard to muster more than a giggle for these shallow gags. They even manage to bungle some potentially great moments with a group of carnival freaks.

But a few of the harsh jabs manage to work, especially in the case of Kurtz, who very bluntly shows the dark, hypocritical side of the religious right, and a wacky send-up of a cult called "Bright 'n Shiny," led by the inimitable Fabio.

Unfortunately, a few giggles can't make Bubble Boy the riotous, off-the-wall comedy it so desperately wants to be. Honestly, it's a mystery how on earth this movie was ever made, and I'm not just saying that because it's so mediocre. How odd for Disney to take a gamble on a film with an unknown director starring virtually unknown actors that doesn't seem to appeal to any particular demographic and has the potential to offend so many.

And now that the studio is suffering through a very public protest against the film by the parents of real-life bubble boy David Philip Vetter, maybe Disney's wondering the same thing. Hope the opening box office take makes it worthwhile.

[Editor's Note: At all of 1 minute, 37 seconds into the Bubble Boy DVD, I realized exactly how it would end. Sure enough, Bubble Boy sets the record for obviousness -- which, if you can believe it, is outmatched only by the commentary track included with the disc. Unfathomable.]

No love for bubble boys.



Bubble Boy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th August 2001

Box Office USA: $4.2M

Distributed by: Touchstone Pictures

Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 58

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Blair Hayes

Producer:

Starring: as Jimmy Livingston, as Mrs. Livingston, as Chloe, as Slim, as Mr. Livingston, as Dr. Phreak, as Mark, as Pushpop, as Pappy / Pippy, as Chicken Man, Ever Carradine as Lisa, Mark's Sister, as Flipper Boy, as Li'l Zip, Matthew McGrory as Human Sasquatch, Bonnie Morgan as Rubber Woman, as Working Girl, as Bus Stop Man

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.