Jimmy Livingston is happy enough, and has all the same experiences of other boys and girls growing up... except he's lived his whole life in a hermetically sealed bubble. However, when Jimmy realizes that he's in love with Chloe, the girl next door, he has no choice but to build a mobile "bubble suit" and venture out of his bedroom. He sets off across the country to Niagara Falls, to stop Chloe's wedding--which is only days away--in time to confess his love to her. As Jimmy sees the world for the first time, he encounters a motley crew of people. Along the way, he crosses paths with freaks, bikers, rock stars, and a cult--all the while, racing against the clock and his parents who are determined to bring Jimmy back to the safety of his "bubble room."
The oddest Disney picture ever, and certainly one of the freakier films of the year. Though it uses as its taking off point the 1976 television movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," a beautifully written docudrama about a boy born without an immune system that was the first project to show John Travolta's acting range, "Bubble Boy" is an updating of "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" with a bit of "The Graduate" thrown in. The movie strains to be a surrealist, knockabout satire about decency, which is a daring subject. (It takes place in a fantasy land similar to California, but it's not clear when.) What may be off-putting about the film is the amount of energy it invests in attacking what's wrong with America; no one is spared. - Elvis Mitchell
2001-08-24 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of The Bubble Boy