THE BEANIE BUBBLE
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook, and Geraldine Viswanathan
Directors: Kristin Gore and Damian Kulash
This year, Hollywood has become obsessed with movies about products: Air, Flamin’ Hot, BlackBerry, Tetris, even Barbie to a certain extent. Now we have The Beanie Bubble, which, I suppose, is okay enough. The story is undeniably interesting, but it’s told with so much quirk (co-director Damian Kulash is the lead singer of OK Go) that it somewhat undermines the message. At its core, this is a feminist tale about the intelligent women that drove the Beanie Baby craze and the incompetent, jealous man that took advantage to make millions; however, it never celebrates the heroines as much as it should. It’s watchable, but too slight.
This seems to be the year of the corporate biopic, and with The Beanie Bubble, we have another one joining the fold. The film is a cheeky and cynical take on capitalism told through the lens of the popular plush toy and the company behind it. While the character-driven approach allows the stacked cast to deliver decent performances while being entertaining at times, the film leans towards the more boring side of things overall. It also feels like it’s trying too hard to be an Adam McKay film. With a generic story, it falls flat compared to similar movies that were released earlier this year.
The Beanie Bubble is something of a tragedy, in the sense that there is a great movie hidden in there somewhere. The concept of the film is an interesting one, and the cast make it an entertaining and funny romp. But it never goes deeper than surface-level. We learn a lot about the characters and their relationships with Ty Warner (Zach Galifianakis), but not enough about Ty himself or why people went crazy for Beanie Babies the way they did. Is it a fun movie? Yes, but don’t expect much more than that.