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Bubble Boy

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Marley Shelton, Swoosie Kurtz,
Screenplay by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Michael Kalesniko
Directed by Blair Hayes
website: bventertainment.go.com

This review by Paul Fischer, 'cuz Cranky was on his way back from vacation. Rated PG-13 for language and crude sexual humor. 83 minutes.

Bubble Boy follows the life of Jimmy Livingston (Jake Gyllenhaal), a young man born without immunities and raised in a manufactured world provided by his well-intentioned but misguided mother (Swoosie Kurtz). When the girl-next-door whom he worships (Marley Shelton) rushes off to Niagara Falls with her new rock star fiancé, he builds himself a bubble suit to help him travel fast and sets out on a cross-country trek to find her and win her back. Along the way he has many absurd and comedic adventures.

The first thing that impresses one when seeing Bubble Boy is how woeful it becomes the more one endures sitting through it. Up there with Freddy Got Fingered as one of the year’s most moronic films, Bubble Boy actually thinks it is smart and edgy. Compared to what? Bubble GUM? When the film’s director tries to compare his film with Voltaire’s Candide, then you know you’re in trouble. Bubble Boy is a film that clearly didn’t get past a first draft, because if it thinks it is an intelligent, edgy comedy, then its makers really have not a clue. Any time you have a film full of stereotypes, and then the filmmakers gleefully respond with: Well you know that’s the point. Now audiences can think about those stereotypes. Ah yes, the teen audience from America’s mid-west or Bible belt country will surely think that way when, yet again, Jews are implied misers. Have we gone this far in our culture? Apparently so.

Bubble Boy is a dumb comedy pretending to be smart, and that’s unfortunate. Nothing here is remotely original. We live in an age of the new comedy, the one where more is good, subtle is weak. Here is a film which takes farce to levels of awkwardness, devoid of any comic development. Perhaps in part to first-time director Blair Hayes’ feeble direction, or to the severe miscasting of a usually thoughtful Jake Gyllenhaal, or the insipid performance of pretty Marley Shelton. As for Swoosie Kurtz, one is not too certain what it is this brilliant actress is doing in this considerably awful film.

Bubble Boy is an annoying film to sit through, even at the still lengthy 80 odd minutes of running time. Annoying, because conceptually, it should never have been green; it, but hey, let’s inflict more cinematic stupidity on our young. Hopefully, they’ll stay away in droves and the bubble will burst on what is close to being the worst film of the year.

 

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