Bubblegum Image

Bubblegum

By Alan Ng | March 8, 2022

At a time when politically correct and woke messaging is being jammed down our throats, we need stories that punch down in delightful ways to cleanse the palette. Jeffrey Garcia’s Bubblegum is cheap, offensive, indecent, and its lazy tale of racism, misogyny, and sexual deviancy couldn’t come at a better time.

Teddy Bupkis (Thayer Cranor) is the “world’s greatest” used car salesman in a small Texas (of course, it’s Texas) town. Wanting to be with his 13-year-old girlfriend, Daphne (Shauna Nunn) — a very old-looking 13 year old, in case you were wondering — Teddy hires a killer to assassinate his soon-to-be ex-wife Angela (Morgan Cooper). Angela plans to take everything from Teddy in the divorce because of his pedophilia.

You’d think hiring a hitman would be easy, but it’s not. Teddy’s friend won’t do it, but he knows a psychotic guy in Florida (of course, Florida) who knows an even more psychotic guy to do the job. Before the deed can be done, Teddy accidentally kills the would-be assassin and, in a moment of tender reconciliation, kills Angela himself. Now on the hook for murder, Teddy and Daphne look for safe passage from some very bad people while being hunted by a sadistic serial killer… I mean… police detective Howard (Michael Nieto).

I appreciate Bubblegum because its prime directive is to be as offensive as possible and looks for ways to be so in every nook and cranny from dialogue to production design (which is a kind description of these incredibly cheap sets). You name it, and it’s here: sexism, racism, antisemitism, misogyny, and even more sexism. I think writer/director Garcia just decided that if he is going to cross the line of decency, cross over far enough that it might just loop back around. Nice try.

“…Teddy hires a killer to assassinate his soon-to-be ex-wife…”

Let me give you just a few examples of the “fun” of the film. First, Teddy describes his leisurely afternoon of golf as “raping the fruits of your labor. Secondly, thinking about his girlfriend puts Teddy into a “sp**ge mood.”

Bubblegum is Jeffrey Garcia’s follow-up to his equally offensive Henrietta and Her Dismal Display of Affection. I appreciate his storytelling and constant drum of indecency that effectively wears you down, much like Stockholm Syndrome. This was shot on VHS, and its narrative is set in the early 90s featuring cheap video effects, cheesy commercials from the era, and even cheesier music from the 60s, including The Free Designs’ Kites are Fun.

What hurts the movie the most, aside from the racism and sexism, is the lack of effort to improve or evolve the cinematography and plotting since Henrietta. I know that there will be a third feature in the Garcia Universe, and it needs to show some growth on the part of the filmmaker. Garcia needs to find ways of using camera angles and shot composition to enhance the steady stream of jokes and gross-out moments. As far as the offensive humor, I’m all for it but I’d like to see it taking beyond being offensive just to be offensive, but be more clever and subversive.

Film exists to connect with audiences and make us feel… anything. Being offended is just as valid a feeling as love, respect, and outrage. You’re definitely going to feel something after watching Bubblegum.

For more information, visit Bubblegum‘s official website.

Bubblegum (2022)

Directed and Written: Jeffery Garcia

Starring: Thayer Cranor, Morgan Cooper, Shauna Nunn, Michael Nieto, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Bubblegum Image

"…you’re definitely going to feel something..."

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