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Bubbles Galore  

Bubbles Galore is a film so shockingly bad, it gives amateur films like Clerks and Go Fish the aura of being directed by David Lean after discovering he had more brilliant visual ideas after his labour on Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge On the River Kwai. It makes Kevin Smith seem like Alfred Hitchcock. It makes Fran Dresher seem like Katherine Hepburn. It makes Adam Sandler seem like Cary Grant. Bubbles Galore is indeed that bad.

And this after the biggest Canadian film controversy ever, when our Parliament discovered its film agencies gave 125,000 dollars to a "porn film". Sheila Copps, Heritage Minister, vowed to make sure the guidelines for giving money would be more stringent in future. Critics were calling for an end to subsidizing films completely, as this was proof that these plans don`t work if they fund any piece of junk which doesn`t satisfy the public interest. My feeling was that, what was such a big deal over a film which sounded as if it were an artsy, female version of Boogie Nights? That film was about porn, and it received three Oscar why wouldn`t Bubbles Galore be any different? Sure, the title`s cheesy, but a government wouldn`t be that stupid as to fund a XXX film. The fuss grew so large, Showcase bought the rights to film in order to cash in. I decided to watch some of it. And the verdict......the title is cheesy, and the government would be that stupid as to fund a XXX film.

The film deals with the title character, played by porn superstar Nina Hartley, who in this film is also a porn superstar, ready to go into business for herself, much to the chagrin of her ex-husband, who proclaims it was he who made her a star. A woman arrives in Bubble`s life, proclaiming she`s a virgin, and yet wants to perform in Bubble`s porn films. This of course requires some initiation, including steamy sex scenes involving the two women, a staple in all porn films.

We also meet an old former "stud" named Buck, and who dresses just like Jon Voight`s Joe Buck from Midnight Cowboy. His attribute is his incredibly long penis, which, I`m afraid, no longer does the job anymore (and which, I`m afraid, we witness in clear detail). There is a strange apparition, complete with her orgasmic minions, who says the most ridiculous phrases in such a dreamy, weak, airy way that it is not a surprise this character is credited with the name of God. We also, I guess, learn that the ex-husband wants to get rid of his opposition by putting them into a snuff film. I say guess because halfway through I just gave up, after a painful montage which included the ex`s bodyguards trying to pull poor Buck`s manhood off (and again in clear detail). What the hell was going on here????????

I was witnessing a piece of crap, that`s what. The filmmaking is cheesy beyond compare. It was shot in a Hey-guys-I-just-bought-a-Camcorder-how-about-we-practise-with-it-to-see-how-it-works kind of feel. I have a feeling that 99% of the budget went to Hartley, who is probably smart enough to know that would be the only reason she`d appear in this film. Video is not a good thing in a film, usually. It only gives the production even more cheesiness than it wants. The acting is also terrible. Hartley sounds like a bad girl trying to sound cute. Her female lover`s scenes seem like they were placed in the film despite the fact she flubbed most of her lines on the first take. The ex-husband is wooden. Buck is no Jon Voight. The film tries to be artsy and eccentric, but I`m reminded of all those other porn directors who desperately want to be taken "seriously". They figure anything peculiar is a sign of talent, when they forgot that first you must have talent.

There is a lot of sex in this film, and is done in such a way that would be labelled as pornography, and very close to hardcore at that. A scene near the beginning involving the ex and his willing female slaves performing fellatio on him certainly looks real to me, and the lesbian love scenes have the attention to detail porno is known for. And, like I said, Buck`s manhood in on visual display. Sex is quite fine to show in a movie, but it is rare that I see a film about sex that actually has any charm. Sirens, Bliss, When Night is Falling, and even The Piano, are films I`d call "erotic", yet actually are entertaining and adult enough to justify the stuff we see in them. They actually are created by people who strive to write decent stories, and who just happened to pick such a touchy topic for a work. Talented people worked on them, and skill was used in the film. Bubbles Galore has no intellegence or wit whatsoever. It`s the sort of film rednecks may enjoy, because for them it has comedy (Look at the size of that dick), romance (We just enjoy scenes of gorgeous lesbos making out) and action (slap that dyke and show her whose the man around here). But for those of us with at least an IQ of 1, all of what I just mentioned borders on the sick. A film describing itself as sexy and with the scenes I`ve described contained within is very disturbing once you think about it. It`s a cheap thrill. Some people may be turned on by the villian of the piece because he has nameless bimbos around him. It`s a porno film so whose to know what the difference is between what`s good and bad?

The shame is that a movie about a female porn-star would be interesting. It would be about time to see a psychological portrait of such a character in a male-dominated industry. But this film missed that chance. It ripped us taxpayers off with the promise of an interesting film, and spent it on something that private porn firms do all the time.

David Macdonald

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