Bubble Boy (2001)
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Review Date: January 16, 2002
Director: Blair Hayes
Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Producers: Beau Flynn
Jake Gyllenhaal
Swoosie Kurtz
Marley Shelton
A boy born without an immune system must live inside a bubble so that he doesn't catch germs and die. He does so his whole life until he reaches puberty, falls for the girl next door and decides to make a bubble suit for himself, so that he could leave his house, follow her to Niagara Falls and reveal his love to her, before she marries "the wrong guy".
Far from the disaster that I thought it would be, this film features a solid 20-minute opening, with shades of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS lurking about, a cutesy ending and an unfortunate midsection filled with idiotic, over-the-top, extreme characters, meant to be funny, but stacking up to very little. And speaking of "very little", is it me or did this film actually last less than 80 minutes!?! No, that ain't a typo, people...80 minutes! But that aside, it did actually manage to provide me with a few moments of entertainment. Yes, the whole part featuring the "bubble boy" on the road is uninteresting, unrealistic and just plain unfunny (including some idiotic "cult", circus freaks and an Indian ice-cream salesman), but thankfully, the film does have some very quirky and interesting characters, including Danny Trejo, as the biker with the big heart, bubble boy's parents, both of whom play their parts with gusto (especially Swoosie Kurtz, who is amazingly fun as the overly protective mum) and Mark, the a-hole dude who's about to marry the girl who B.B. (that's bubble boy, y'all!) digs, who reminded me of Seann William Scott (a compliment indeed). That actor's name is Dave Sheridan and he also played Doofy in SCARY MOVIE and Doug the crazy numchuck dude in GHOST WORLD. This guy's going places! I also dug the many cool tunes in the flick (even though some of them were obviously there just to kill time) and the whole scene in the strip joint (can you say "$500 dollar!"), which was quite humorous. And was this movie created for kids, teens or adults? God knows because there's enough immaturity here to appeal to children, but also plenty of sexual innuendo, strong language and a scene featuring female mud-wrestling, to satisfy the rest. Very strange combination.

I also generally dig movies about "outsiders" (yes, even the Coppolla film THE OUTSIDERS) since I've always felt like one myself (born in Holland of Armenian heritage, brought up in Canada watching American movies --> you do the math) and the fact that I had a couple of drinks in me, didn't hurt either. But in the end, nobody is going to pretend that this is a good movie, because it clearly isn't. It features too many big stunt scenes which aren't funny or exciting, too many characters that are over-the-top, unbelievable and un-humorous, certain pokes at others which some might find offensive and plot holes...you guessed it, the size of my ass! But heck...the bubble bastard was a sympathetic character to whom I could relate, the girl he was chasing was darn cute (es tu Heather Graham?) and the movie barely cut an hour and a half out of my life, so I guess it could've been much worse (and yes, I expected it to be just that...much worse!). Incidentally, it's interesting to note that the lead in this film, Jake Gyllenhaal (who's quite good), also starred in one of the more critically acclaimed independent features of the year entitled DONNIE DARKO (in which he also played the title character). But don't watch this movie on my account. In fact, don't watch it at all if you're looking for something that's gonna make a lot of sense or provide for originality, laughs galore and unrestrained fun. This is an innocent little film that feels more like a TV sketch piece gone long, than anything else. It definitely has some fun characters, loses its grip during the whole road section, but does sort of come back together near the end, with a little emotion and an obvious, but heart-warming, conclusion. See it if you wanna see a bubble boy get slammed by a bus. See it if you wanna see a bubble boy rassle a couple of chicks in mud. And see it if you aren't expecting anything more from a movie than 75 minutes of amusement as you sip your life away in drink. Then bubble this!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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