Film Reviews

BUBBLE BOY

By • Aug 24th, 2001 •

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I wear fur – mink. It’s my way of saying “No.” (For those really interested, God gave me permission). In our PC world, we are burdened with a panoply of newly created forbidden zones. Fat actors just formed a “Plus Size Subcommittee” within SAG to work against being negatively portrayed in films (SHALLOW HAL hasn’t even been previewed yet and already they are bitching) and an organization with 15,000 members tried to “blackmail” Touchstone Pictures into not releasing BUBBLE BOY. Supposedly, the movie makes fun of a teenager who has a life-threatening immune deficiency disease. He lives in a big plastic bubble bedroom and wants to get out and claim his true love, and experience sunshine and grass.

BUBBLE BOY is a silly, joyfully disrespectful movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, it was politically incorrect. If you’re looking for SCHINDLER’S LIST here, please stay home.

Jimmy Livingston (Jake Gyllenhaal, in the de rigueur weird hairdo) has lived his entire life in a world manufactured by his “Joan Crawford Has Risen From The Dead” mother, Mrs. Livingston (Swoosie Kurtz). Jimmy is in love with Chloe (Marley Shelton), the girl next door. When Chloe tells Jimmy she is going off to Niagara Falls to marry her wannabe rock star boyfriend – the wrong guy – Jimmy makes a portable bubble for himself and goes out across the country to stop her wedding.

The outrageous tone of the movie is set precisely the moment when Mrs. Livingston reads the ransom note Mr. Livingston (John Carroll Lynch) has pieced together to entice the police to help find Jimmy. Since their son is not a kidnap victim, Mr. and Mrs. Livingston must go in search of Jimmy themselves.

There are weird people who live amongst us – who leave the rest of us alone and go about, unapologetically, doing exactly what they want to do. This movie celebrates them – it does not belittle them. Apparently, as a membership sigil in this club, all of them have really bad haircuts. Jimmy, a finally liberated de facto member, hitchhikes across the U.S. and runs into ambassadors of weird. No one makes fun of Jimmy.

There’s Slim (Danny Trejo!) as the biker who befriends Jimmy, the cultists led by Gil (Fabio!), and the group of “freaks” (including Beetlejuice) who work for Dr. Phreak (Verne Troyer), and one of the funniest characters, an East Indian ice cream vendor, Pushpak (Brian George). BUBBLE BOY – a David Lynch road comedy – doesn’t really deliver a well-thought out resolution or solve the Mother-From-Hell problem. These things aside, if you liked THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, you’ll love BUBBLE BOY. And you’ll laugh.

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