The Bubble

Year: 2022
Production Co: Apatow Productions
Studio: Netflix
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Judd Apatow/Pam Brady
Cast: Karen Gillan, David Duchovny, Leslie Mann, Keegan-Michael Key, Iris Apatow, Pedro Pascal, Maria Bakalova, Fred Armisen, Kate McKinnon, Daisy Ridley, John Lithgow, John Cena, Beck, James McAvoy

I saw the trailer for a movie in the fake franchise this film's about, one of the Cliff Beasts movies, and wasn't sure whether it was serious or so bad it was an obvious pisstake.

Thankfully Hollywood filmmaking isn't that bad yet, because it was a parody of a bad movie franchise from the universe of The Bubble.

It was created in order to promote Judd Apatow's new Netflix comedy, and it wasn't until months later when I watched it that I made the connection. The story (as well as the Cliff Beasts franchise) is a parody of moviemaking, shot through with the new normal of the COVID era.

An eclectic, self centred and insecure gang of actors and crew members assemble at a lavish hotel in rural England to shoot the latest instalment of the Cliff Beasts series, and the bubble of the title is the safe haven of social distancing, separated from the outside world and enforced by COVID that they live and work in.

The headline act is Karen Gillan as Carol, one of the stars of the show who left the franchise in the last film to try a serious role that failed spectacularly (playing a Palestinian/Israeli character in an alien invasion).

She's come back now with her confidence shaken and her costars bitter about her ditching them, and it's made exponentially worse when a TikTok star (Iris Apatow) joins the cast to try and win over a younger demographic and Carol is no longer the young and hot one.

Dustin (David Duchovny) and Lauren (Leslie Mann), formerly married and ready to fall back into bed together at a minute's notice, are the stars of the movie. Sean (Keegan-Michael Key) is an overeager member of the gang styling himself as a self help guru and Dieter (Pedro Pascal), a 'serious' actor, has joined the property for some thespian cred but is more interested in drugs and shagging than acting.

Along with a handful of others like the commercial director who can't wrangle such heavyweights (Fred Armisen), the genteel executive producer and the phony/fearsome studio head (Kate McKinnon) who zooms in from exotic locales at a time when nobody's supposed to be travelling, the script throws them all into the melting pot of trying to live, act against green screens and salve their battered egos in service of a dreadful CGI monster mash epic.

As I write this review I've just finished reading Tom Hanks' novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, which does the same thing, albeit far more realistically and with much greater detail.

It's possibly worth watching The Bubble if you're likewise interested in seeing how the sausage is made in the movie industry, but it's also worth watching it for a few decent laughs. it's not going to change comedy or filmmaking but you'll have a enjoyable enough time and wonder why critics took so strongly against it.

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