Bubble Babble Piffle Whiff

Bubble Boy is a basic premise - teen born without immunities, raised in isolation by a paranoid bible-thumping mother and a dominated father, lives in a sealed plastic habitat. He develops a friendship with the girl next door, falls in love with her, but the relationship is assumed to be doomed by this permanent barrier. Shortly after announcing her betrothal to some dork, he develops a deep-seated need to travel to Niagra Falls to stop her wedding.

Bubble Boy, if you haven't already guessed, is low-brow comedy - making light of what is typically not quite as bad as the gross-out comedies of recent years, but the same territory. Which means, of course, that along the way, our boy Jimmy meets quite an assortment of unusual people, from a tattooed biker to a bus full of cultists led by Fabio, to a trainful of "freaks" led by Verne Troyer. Jimmy's innocence of the world and a strange acceptance of his bubbled self ends up leading to your typical wacky misunderstandings and situations.

Bubble Boy happens to be well constructed and is not just a series of gags on a theme. Don't get me wrong - there is a series of gags on a theme, but we also have structure and a clear objective to the movie.

Is that enough, though? Do we care about the characters? Do we care if Jimmy gets the girl? I found the characters only mattered a little bit to me. Jimmy is earnest and honest and we can feel some empathy for him. The other characters are mostly treated as pawns for gags though, so to a certain extent become interchangable.

The movie does actually get better at the end - not great, but it did manage to earn back a point in my eyes. There's not much reason to seek out this film except perhaps to trace Jake Glynhaal's sudden prominence in Hollywood - as yet I haven't seen him in anything I like, but I see the glimmer of potential. Let's see what the upcoming Moonlight Mile shows about his abilities.

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