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Bubble Boy Review

Born with an immunity disorder Jimmy leads a sheltered life in his parents’ big suburban house which they built to cater to their little bubble boy’s every need. His mother a devoutly religious housewife spends her days doting on raising and home schooling Jimmy. He’s a sheltered little boy but he does befriend Chloe the blonde girl next door. . . Years pass. When Chloe tells Jimmy she is marrying her sleazy boyfriend in Niagara Falls a heartbroken Jimmy builds a hermetically sealed bubble suit and sets out to stop the wedding. See he’s angry that he never told Chloe how he really felt about her. The rest of the film follows Jimmy on his trek across several states where he runs into the Bright ‘n’ Shiny cult (led by self-promoter Fabio) a motorcycle gang and a group of circus sideshow attractions all while being chased by his frantic mother. Jimmy provides the audience with a running commentary throughout the film just in case the plot’s not obvious enough.

Jake Gyllenhall (Donnie Darko) is curiously well suited for the role of the bubble boy Jimmy. The actor has that wide-eyed goofy gaze required for any naïve sheltered character. Whether he is acting or just looks like that is another question. Swoosie Kurtz is convincing and corny enough as the oddly demonic Tammy Faye-looking mother complete with stiff hair and blue eye shadow. John Carroll Lynch (The Drew Carey Show) as Jimmy’s father probably has the best part–it has the fewest lines which is a huge asset considering the horror that passes for a script. Marley Shelton (Valentine Sugar & Spice) who plays Chloe the “whore next door ” does the vacant teenage blonde thing well though she appears at times to be playing Heather Graham. Appearances by Verne J Troyer (Mini-Me in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) as the circus-sideshow ringleader Dr. Phreak; Patrick Cranshaw (Best in Show) as twin brothers Pippy and Pappy; Beetlejuice of Howard Stern fame; Kid Rock and Ozzy Osbourne might have added a ray of light had the entire film not been bathed in such bad taste.

Director Blair Hayes had the unfortunate task of helming this miserable project which might not have been such a bad comedy had it explored the relationship between Jimmy and his wacked-out controlling mother. Instead it relies on every single stereotype imaginable for laughs including shots at Jews Asians Hispanics and even a curry-flavored-ice-cream -selling cow -worshipping East Indian. The much-criticized movie does end up being offensive but not because it is insensitive to immune disorders as many critics anticipated. In fact the film barely touches on the issue except for the few times when Jimmy exclaims “One germ could kill me!” It makes you wonder why Carol Ann Demaret was so adamant about stopping the film’s release going so far as to call for a boycott. Apart from an early scene where a couple of neighbor kids hop around Jimmy’s front lawn wrapped in plastic bags and yelling “Bubble Boy Bubble Boy ” the jokes are never really aimed at the disease.

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