I watched this film last night with my two sons and we all thoroughly enjoyed it, laughing out loud at regular intervals.
It revolves around Jimmy, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who was born without any immune system, brought home by his mother from hospital and kept in a large plastic bubble for his own protection. When the film opens he appears to be a normal well-adjusted teenager, playing guitar and larking around. However, he has been dubiously home-schooled by his religeously fanatical mother who fills his head with all manner of strange and warped information about other cultures and, most particularly, girls. As he has never left his bubble, and his father never seems to speak, he has no other point of view to disprove his mother so is in blissful ignorance. He thinks he has everything he needs to be happy, until he sees his attractive, new next-door neighbour, Chloe.
Jimmy and Chloe strike up a strange but warm friendship, despite the restrictions of the bubble and Jimmy's mother's insistance of calling his new friend the 'dirty whore next door'. But their relationship can only go so far, in view of Jimmy's condition, so (as she can't have Jimmy) Chloe finds an unsuitable boyfriend and plans a wedding at Niagra Falls.
This is the spark that ignites Jimmy who realises that he can't lose the love of his life. So he does what any boy with no immune system would do. He builds himself a portable bubble suit and sets off to find Chloe and stop the wedding.
But Jimmy has never been out of the house before and the clueless teen is convinced that Niagra Falls is just a short bus ride away. He couldn't be more wrong and this is the point where the film comes alive as Jimmy stumbles from one strange band of brothers to another, from the back of a motorbike to a train full of circus freaks, meeting all manner of different people from different cultures along the way. He slowly realises that, not only is the world a big and diverse place, but his mother may not have been totally honest with him.
This is essentially a road movie/love story. It's 'The Jerk' meets 'The Blues Brothers'. The performance of Gyllenhaal is energetic and we genuinely care about his predicament. But he is supported by an excellent cast which includes Swoosie Kurtz (recently seen in ITV's Pushing Daisies) as his misguided mother. There is also a great little cameo from Verne Troyer as Dr. Threak, the heartless owner of the circus freaks.
There is one genuine moment of comic timing to rival Delboy Trotter falling through the open bar in that wine bar and it's when Jimmy walks out in his bubble suit for the first time. He has never seen a road before or a bus for that matter and when one comes towards him at speed the impact is just about the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. We stopped the DVD, rewound and watched it again and it was still just as funny the second time.
This is a recommended film for older children and adults who are still young at heart. Miserable old cynics should avoid at all costs.