THUMBS DOWN FILM REVIEW RATING!
Director/Producer Steven Soderbergh has given us some great cinema. From ERIN BROCKOVICH to A SCANNER DARKLY, he’s been involved in some of the best productions to come out of Hollywood for a little over a decade.
Having heard a few upbeat comments about BUBBLE, one might be tempted to check out Soderbergh’s attempt at low-budget filming using no-name actors, a HD camera (not 35mm), and a very short run-time (73 minutes).
Many struggling directors/producers first got into film making via the independent market. Now there seems to be a reversal in where successful directors/producers are looking toward independent cinema to get movies out that are otherwise overlooked by MGM, Paramount, and the other big boys in the industry. There must be a lot of films that never get greenlighted for production. Surely some of them would make excellent movies. And some of them are bypassed for very good reasons. Bubble falls into the latter category.
Grass growing. Tepid. Slow. Bland. We’ve all heard these cliches applied to films and they apply in full measure to Bubble.
One of the biggest problem is that the film is poorly acted. In fact, Debbie Doebereiner, Dustin Ashley, and Misty Wilkins — the three main actors — have never taken an acting lesson in their lives. Debbie (who plays Martha) was a regional manager for Kentucky Fried Chicken for 24 years, Dustin (Kyle) was a high school dropout with psychological issues, and Misty (Rose) was a hairstylist. One might think that by hiring no-names the film would take on a sense of authenticity, especially since it was shot in a small mid-western community. Not so. Line delivery is unemotional and flat, as are the scripted characters and the incredibly boring town. This isn’t a bashing of the people chosen to "act" in this film, as they were obviously ill-prepared for their movie debut. Blame can be squarely placed on the shoulders of whoever cast the film.
The story is supposed to be aptly pulled from the title, Bubble. A bubble is an enclosure surrounded by a tenuous membrane that can easily be popped. Martha (Doebereiner) and Kyle (Dustin) work in a doll making factory and are "best friends" according to Martha. Kyle doesn’t seem to hold the same attitude but tolerates Martha because she gives him rides to and from work. As a big order for the doll factory comes in, the company hires an attractive new employee named Rose (Misty). A spark of a relationship is seen between Kyle and Rose. Martha is obviously not pleased. This twisted love triangle quickly goes awry as Rose’s strangled body is found in her home (Pop! goes the bubble). But did Martha do it?
This is all pretty common ground that’s been covered in films for decades. In order to pull off something this well-used one would think that the script might throw us a curve, or perhaps play the characters off one another in a stranger fashion. Again, not so. You’ve got a scoop of vanilla with no sprinkles on top.
Bad script, bad acting, bad location. Just ...bad.