Bubble Boy (2001)



Critic Consensus: Bubble Boy bounces along with lame, offensive jokes that are more tasteless than funny.

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Movie Info

Jake Gyllenhaal, the young star of the critically well-received October Sky (1999), follows up that film with this offbeat comedy. Gyllenhaal stars as Jimmy Livingston, a teenager with an immune system deficiency who has spent his entire life living in a plastic bubble under the doting, overprotective care of his mother (Swoosie Kurtz). Jimmy is in love with his next-door neighbor Chloe (Marley Shelton), so when he learns that she has left for Niagara Falls in order to be married, he's devastated. He quickly assembles a portable "bubble suit" and sets out on a 2,755.8-mile odyssey in order to stop her and proclaim his affection. Along the way, Jimmy experiences a number of adventures, including encounters with freaks, bikers, rock stars, and a cult. Bubble Boy is a comic riff on the classic TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976), which starred a young John Travolta.
PG-13 (for language and crude sexual humor)
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Written By:
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Jake Gyllenhaal
as Jimmy Livingston
Swoosie Kurtz
as Mrs. Livingston
John Carroll Lynch
as Mr. Livingston
Verne Troyer
as Dr. Phreak
Ever Carradine
as Mark's Sister
Brian George
as Pushpak
Stephen Spinella
as Chicken Man
Geoffrey Arend
as Flipper Boy
Patrick Cranshaw
as Pippy/Pappy
as Li'l Zip
Matthew McGrory
as Human Sasquatch
Bonnie Morgan
as Rubber Woman
Jason Sklar
as Shlomo
as Gil
Ping Wu
as Emcee
Zach Galifianakis
as Bus Stop Man
Boti Ann Bliss
as Cashier
Cinco Paul
as Todd
Ken Daurio
as Todd
J.P. Cole
as Todd
Arden Myrin
as Lorraine
Merle Kennedy
as Lorraine
Shulie Cowen
as Lorraine
Alicia Gilley
as Lorraine
Mandy Moore
as Lorraine
Mitch Holleman
as Jimmy (age 4)
Alex Black
as Jimmy (age 8)
Tony Black
as Jimmy (age 10)
Robert Bailey Jr.
as Neighborhood Boy
Oliver A. Kindred
as Neighborhood Boy
Brandon Michael Depaul
as Neighborhood Boy
Steve Van Wormer
as Mark's Friend
E.J. Callahan
as Perris Townie
Charlie Dell
as Perris Townie
Michael Loprete
as Perris Townie
Charles Noland
as Perris Townie
Emily Stewart
as Perris Townie
Pattie Tierce
as Perris Townie
Gary Bullock
as Perris Sheriff
Susan Hawk
as Perris Waitress
Steven Anthony Lawrence
as Ice Cream Boy
Raja Fenske
as Indian Boy
Cleo King
as Minister
Robert LaSardo
as Skinny Biker
Jorge Cottini
as Big Biker
Stacy Keibler
as Working Girl
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Critic Reviews for Bubble Boy

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (21)

Hayes shows a deft touch with both cartoony slapstick and character-based comedy and manages to create moments of real poignancy in between.

January 6, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

Seldom has a more misguided movie escaped from a major studio than Touchstone's Bubble Boy.

August 31, 2001
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

This amazingly tasteless, gross-out comedy is full of cruel jokes, stupid characters, schmaltzy sentimentality and situations that make no sense.

August 31, 2001
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Hollywood monstrosities all, and boy are they scary!

Full Review… | August 28, 2001
Village Voice
Top Critic

After enduring only a few minutes of this shrill debacle, you'll feel more trapped in the theater than Jimmy is by his bubble.

Full Review… | August 27, 2001
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Certainly the meanest-spirited film ever associated with the Disney hallmark.

August 24, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bubble Boy


A silly, not very funny, and forgetable film. Rotten.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


Life is an adventure. Don't blow it. Cool good movie! This movie was as good as it was funny, perfect balance. It's kinda short but it's enough to be a blast. The story is very good and fun and you can't help but laugh at the different parts of Bubble Boy's journey. Great family film. On his way to save his love from marrying the wrong man, BB (Bubble Boy) encounters adventures very rare for a young man in a bubble whose system could not tolerate even one germ: . A bus load of cult members who boot him out of their bus when he accuses them of being a cult. . A motorcyclist ex boy friend of his mother (who is in hot pursuit) who gives him a ride. . Joins a band of freaks on a train who he saves from a vicious dwarf. . An East Indian ice cream vendor who gives him a ride until an unfortunate encounter with a cow. . Mud wrestles scantily clad beauties in order to win $ 500.00 to pay Pappy, an older person, to take him to Niagra Falls in his jalopy. BB gets a lift in an air plane (piloted by Pappy's brother, Pippy) and bails out over Niagra Falls, goes over the falls, and races to the church just in time to stop the marriage ceremony and marry his one true love after finding out his mother deceived him about his condition.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Jake Gyllenhaal as a comedic superstar. This is a really funny movie, but it's also got a really good message about living life and taking risks. While it's sort've a spoof of Boy in the Plastic Bubble, it's very much its own movie with a slightly similar concept. The nutjob characters are great, especially the freakshow carnies with mutant powers. The love story is really cute and somehow it never crosses into cheesefest territory. Actually the whole movie is always funny, but never takes anything too far which is really nice.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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