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By Heather Wadowski | August 23, 2001

If only 1 out of 10,000 scripts in Hollywood gets the green light, one has to wonder what crack the executives over at Touchstone Pictures were smoking when they let “Bubble Boy” see the light of day. “Bubble Boy” could have been a funny coming-of-age story, jabbing a spork in one’s eye. Instead, it delivers 84 minutes of pure crap.
“Bubble Boy” is the story of Jimmy Livingston (October Sky‘s Jake Gyllenhaal), a young man who — because he was born without an immune system — is forced to spend his life inside a plastic bubble in order to survive. Even though Jimmy’s mother (Swoosie Kurtz) is over-protective and psychotic, Jimmy has never known any other way of life and therefore is content with his current situation. That all changes though when Jimmy falls for Chloe (Marley Shelton), the girl next door and his best friend. When Chloe tells him that she is on her way to Niagara Falls to get married, he has to do something to stop the wedding. Determined to let her know how he feels, Jimmy sets out on a cross-country adventure to stop the woman of his dreams from marrying the wrong man, and in the process discovers himself.
While the idea of a guy in his early twenties stepping into the real world for the first time could have been hilarious, screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio instead write a script that somehow makes Freddy Got Fingered and Dude, Where’s My Car? look brilliant. The characters Jimmy meets during his journey are as dull as they come, and one wonders how much the actors that played them were paid to sell their souls. And while many movies like this can entertain from their cameos alone, the actors in “Bubble Boy” are not only weak — ranging from WCW wrestler Stacy Keibler to frequent Howard Stern guest Beetlejuice — but also appear so fast that if you blink you will miss them.
What is sadder than people actually going to see “Bubble Boy” though is seeing actors like Kurtz and Gyllenhaal wasting their talent. Kurtz is splendid in her portrayal of an overprotective mother, a role that is guaranteed to make you want to get out of your seats and strangle her to death. Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal’s wide-eyed innocence is so believable that it’s almost enough to make viewers forget the slow torture they are taking part in — almost. Even their outstanding performances though can’t make up for the lack of laughs in “Bubble Boy” — a movie so unfunny that even the 10 year-olds in the audience remained unamused.
Now sure there are a couple funny scenes in the film — one scene where Kurtz tells Jimmy to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” in order to get rid of his erection is classic. Heck, the cameo by Fabio could be reason alone to rent the film when it’s released on DVD in two weeks. But since I just gave away the only scenes worth seeing, be happy rather than mad since I saved you $9. At least on the DVD viewers will get to see the dream sequences that director Blair Hayes recently told the press made him laugh out loud — you know, the ones that were cut.

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