The Bubble Review: Jada Apatov’s Gloomy Satire on Pandemic Feels Outdated

Jade Apatov’s sketch comedy on Netflix about creating a blockbuster during the blockade is almost completely without laughter.

As unpleasant as it is to watch one of the greatest comedy directors of the 21st century grin as he makes his way through a leaden and scattered mess that manages to feel oppressively entertaining himself, even as he swears he’s making fun of himself, Netflix seems full determination to keep twisting them. At least until “one of the greatest comedy directors of the 21st century, who makes his way through a leaden and scattered mess who manages to feel oppressively funny, even if he swears he’s making fun of himself,” describes enough films to become his own . category on the home page of the streamer.

While Jada Apatova’s “The Bubble” isn’t as shaky and grand as Adam McKay’s apocalyptic “Don’t Look Up”, this Hollywood cartoon with stars is even more unexpectedly depressing. This element of surprise does not benefit Apatov. I shouldn’t be complimenting when I say that “Bubble” depresses as modern comedies rarely do – that it depresses in the same new way as the coronavirus that inspired it.

In the midst of a pandemic, a quarantine blockbuster is filmed and released for more than two years into a global crisis that continues to amaze us with new hilarious twists and turns every time we get cheeky. which you are still trying to survive. Not only did they meet like “this is a bad joke about Da Baby”, but they also met more often in the form of “aren’t nasal swabs annoying?” a kind of way. These are low hanging fruits that we have all already plucked in our time. Which isn’t to say that people can’t shoot funny comedies about COVID (a few already have them!), Just that I didn’t fully appreciate how long we’ve all been trapped in this purgatory until we saw a funny comedy about this, which takes place in 2020, was filmed in early 2021, and it seems to be about 9,000 years old.

It is commendable that Apatov tried to make something positive out of a bad situation, and even more commendable that he took the opportunity to highlight a wide range of new comic talents from around the world (in addition to acquaintances he found in his own home). But the talented cast of improvisers is not enough to disguise the fact that Apatow and co-authors Pam Brady (“Hamlet 2”) had to break the initial script in record time, and this does not change the fact that the film is so wide and fragmented – this dependence on minute compassion audience instead of something deeper – never going to stay fresh enough to survive the typical annual post-production process.

“In the early days of the pandemic,” says the first title card, “there was a lack of content … it’s the story of Cliff Beasts 6 and the brave people who fought heroically to distract humanity.” “” Bubble “did not even reach its first proper scene, but it is clear that Apatov’s film was to be an animated film. “The Bubble” gradually seems to regret its simple approach, but a more formalized narration of this story would require more advance planning than was possible within the project. It also wouldn’t allow “Bubbles” to be so convenient to have your cake and also eat it: to become a comedy that mocks the same content crisis that was created to help solve.

“Cliff Beasts” is considered the “23rd largest action franchise of all time”, and the full title of its last part is actually – “Cliff Beasts 6: Battle for Everest: Memories of the Requiem” – the first draft of a joke in the first draft of the film, so neglected and discarded that “It’s 40” feels like “French Dispatch”. Carol (Karen Gillan, who clearly deserves her own studio comedy) had a good mind for abandoning the Cliff Beasts cinematic universe before she reached the level of despair with double colons, but played half Jewish, half Palestinian in a star vehicle called Jerusalem ”turned out to be not such a hot idea for a white American named Carol, and so her agent (Rob Delaney, in the first of many inconspicuous cameos) could easily be persuaded to return to the gravity train. In addition, the filming site is the safest place in such pre-vaccination times.

And so to the Palladian country house, where the film will be shot, and where its cast will be imprisoned, as the shutdown of COVID turns the salary extension into a multiplex horseradish “Apocalypse Now” (except for the director and child who shoots EPK, the team “Cliff Beasts” actually does not seem to exist). It was there, on the banks of the River Thames, that Carol found herself involved in a quirky group of people who could no longer stand each other until their arrival. Separately, they can all offer a film that is much less than the sum of its parts.

The always funny Leslie Mann performs his usual trick as the listless star of the first five “Cliff Beasts”, while David Spiritual fits into Apatow’s form as a husband who, over and over again (and self-proclaimed “guardian” of the franchise ”), with whom she adopted a teenage son a few days before the last divorce. Keegan-Michael Key is doing a lot of energetic things in his role as another of the show’s top men, but it feels like his performance could be singled out from the top 10 things he’s been to before. This is doubly true for Fred Armisen, who is Fred Armisen’s stunning turn as director Sundance, who climbs over his head.

At least Pedro Pascal is on his toes beyond his comfort zone, as the Game of Thrones star is taking a cleaner strip of comedy than ever before. In a film where it is almost impossible to find real laughter, Pascal always seems that he can stumble upon Motherlode at any moment, and his turn as a pretentious actor-method, blinded by an open girl working at the hotel reception (“Borat 2 “Maria Bakalova, briefly confirming her genius) is enough to hope that in the future he will compensate for the seriousness of his roles in“ The Mandalorian ”and“ The Last of Us ”with more nonsense.

New faces – or old faces that do new things – appear in “The Bubble” with such frequency that it becomes incredibly possible to see what Apatov aspired to and what he could have achieved if his film had not looked like a random collection unrelated sketches that are related only by a common concept between them. It is clear that Harry Trevaldwin (plays a willow tester on COVID, who desperately wants to be a friend of the stars) and Guz Khan (as a member of the cast of “Rock Beasts” who can not stand quarantine) are the main findings, but “Bubble” – it’s too defocused to show what they are capable of. The same goes for Apatov’s daughter Iris, who starred in the Netflix movie “Love” and extracts a real character from the role of an ultra-naive influencer who gets a role in “Cliff Beasts 6” because of his subscribers on social networks. TikTok’s dance video with the full ensemble, which she staged in the majestic “Sea Talk” Zola of Jesus, is magnetic enough to single-handedly assemble the dirty pieces of this broken film.

Apatov gets a lot of shit for shooting comedies in the form of screenshots that continue in David Lin’s epic, but the patchwork scenes that make up his latest version have less to do with “Funny People” than with “Movie 43” and may be just aimless enough for critics of the director to appreciate the flow of his earlier work. Random snippets come together well enough that it can be tempting to see a chaotic mix of unrelated jokes in the film as a mad display of our collective cabin fever (John Lithgow and a certain Scottish actor create parodying industry moments that suggest “more” play baseball), but Apatov’s film is never intentional enough to avoid the same feeling of “just rejoice that we did something for you” as if he’s trying to pounce on a skewer and is released long after we’ve outgrown despair who demanded it. The fatal irony of “The Bubble” is that it has never been harder to be grateful that it exists.

Rating: D +

“The Bubble” will be available for broadcast on Netflix from April 1.

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