Bubble Boy is a 2001 comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the eponymous Bubble Boy, Jimmy Livingston. Raised in a hyper-conservative home by a clingy mother and a nigh-voiceless father, his life is spent reading Highlights magazine, homeschooling, and watching Land of the Lost reruns. When he becomes a teen, a new family moves in next door, including a literal Girl Next Door named Chloe, striking up a close friendship with her. Then, sometime after she graduates from High School, she tells him that she's going to Niagara Falls to get married to her High School Sweetheart in three days... but gives a very blatant hint that she'd prefer to be with Jimmy before leavingnote Namely, a home-made snowglobe with figures of them inside reading "I love you". So now Jimmy is on a Race for Your Love across the continental United States to stop the wedding and get the girl. Hilarity Ensues.Unfortunately, this wasn't the opinion of audiences, as the movie bombed badly, with a budget of $13 Million with only a gross take of $5 Million in the US box office. It has since become something of a Cult Classic.
This movie provides examples of:
Actor Allusion: Verne Troyer plays Dr. Phreak, feared owner of a sideshow.
Cutting the Knot: Jimmy actually starts out trying to do the sensible thing and just buy a bus ticket to Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, he only has pocket-change to spend, never having been able to work before.
Jimmy: How far will this get me? Bus Stop Attendant: (Click) Take a step back. (Jimmy does so)That far.
Engrish: Utilized by the excitable Asian mud-wrestling emcee.
Emcee: You want five hundred dolla? Jimmy: Yes please, I would like five hundred dollars. Emcee: You want five hundred dolla? Jimmy: Yes I want five hundred dolla! Emcee: Five hundred dolla! Jimmy: Five hundred dolla!
Everyone Chasing You: The climax of the movie, when Jimmy's being chased by his mother, the Bright & Shinies, the freaks, and Slim's biker gang (now driving Pushpop's ice-cream and curry truck).
Fish out of Water: Jimmy, easily. Half the fun is seeing him get into (and out of) some rather bizarre situations that he only ever got into because of his naivete.
Foreshadowing: A surprisingly large amount of it prior to Jimmy donning the bubble suit, when his mother talks about those "evil doctors" and keeping her son pure, her stating proudly "Look what mommy built for you!" in reference to his bubble, and his being perfectly able to handle exposure to "decontaminated" objects like guinea-pigs, ice-cream, and even beer all point at The Reveal.
While Jimmy's father is watching TV in the opening, we see a commercial for the Bright & Shiny cult that Jimmy runs into.
Henpecked Husband: Mr. Livingston only gets a handful of lines throughout the movie, despite appearing in a good quarter of it.
Hidden Depths: At the finale, we find out that before Mrs. Livingston settled down, she ran with a biker gang and actually dated Slim when she was younger. She goes back to this after Jimmy and Chloe get married - yes, including Slim and her husband, who seemed to enjoy the newfound freedom.
Hidden Heart of Gold: Slim, whose primary motivation for helping Jimmy is that he wants to see Jimmy get the girl.
Implausible Deniability: Pushpop's initial reaction to hitting a cow was trying to claim it was an elk, caribou, or bison... in the middle of multiple cow pastures. It doesn't take long for him to fully break down.
Jerkass Has a Point: At the wedding, Mark keeps acting offended and asking "Is it just me?" that has a problem with Jimmy interrupting the ceremony, with everyone else applauding when Jimmy and Chloe run out of the cathedral. Seeing as Mark was the groom, this is pretty understandable.
Jerk Jock: What Chloe's fiancee comes across as, due to having very little patience for her friendship with Jimmy.
Mama Bear: When trying to file a missing persons report, Jimmy's mother is told that it has to have been a few days since the person was last seen to file.
Mrs. Livingston: Well, you'll certainly be in my prayers tonight. And I'll be praying you get nut cancer!
Mundane Made Awesome: Jimmy's experiencing the world for the first time, but one line in particular (after he steps in dog crap) highlights his viewpoint.
Jimmy: Dog poop? This is awesome!
My Beloved Smother: Mrs. Livingston by far. Her bedtime stories after he meets Chloe says it all.
Mrs. Livingston: And then Pinocchio came out of his plastic bubble and touched the filthy little whore next door and died. The End! Mrs. Livingston: ...and the prince climbed up Rapunzel's hair to the top of the tower and said, "Come with me, and we'll live happily ever after." Then Rapunzel left her plastic bubble and died. The end.
It also plays as a major plot point, with The Reveal that he was actually dismissed from the hospital because his immune system kicked in when he was 4. She'd kept him in the bubble for at least fourteen years because she was afraid of what the world would do to her innocent baby boy.
Planet of Steves: The Bright & Shiny cult, where all the men are named "Todd" and all the women are "Lorraine".
Race for Your Love: He needs to go from the western US to Niagara Falls in just three days.
Unwanted False Faith: Jimmy gets a ride with a very peppy cult en route, who kick him out into the desert when he actually calls them a cult. Unfortunately for them, their leader (played by Fabio) declares that "The Round One" shall lead them to paradise, meaning they have to try tracking him back down, including a confrontation with his mother.
Lorraine: Back off, bitch! He's the Messiah!
The Voiceless: Mr. Livingston doesn't get the chance to say too much (speaking twice throughout the movie). But when he does, it really counts.
Mr. Livingston: (Talking to Jimmy when they've caught up to him near Niagara Falls) H-How was it out there? Was it fun? (Beat) You can see the moon today. You know, it kind of makes you wonder. What would have happened if Neil Armstrong had gone all the way to the moon... and then never stepped on the surface?
He's also the one to reveal that Jimmy's not dead at the end.