Friday Film Review | "The Beanie Bubble"
Were you among the millions who collected Beanie Babies back in the 1990's? Do you still have a handful of those small stuffed animals lurking in your basement or attic?
If so, then you'll want to catch "The Beanie Bubble," the new - based on a true story - comedy/drama that tells the story of the rise and fall of the Beanie Babies trend that sparked a multi-million-dollar toy collection frenzy in the 1990's.
Zach Galifianakis stars as Ty Warner, the egocentric toy entrepreneur behind the Beanie Babies phenomenon. Galifianakis is unrecognizable as Ty, but his over-the-top performance accentuates the behind-the-scenes drama of his company Ty, Inc.
Using a back-and-forth narrative covering a decade, the story is told by three women in Ty's life - Robbie, Maya, and Sheila - who were the real forces behind the success of Beanie Babies.
Elizabeth Banks delivers a standout performance as Robbie, a neighbor of Ty's, whom he partnered with to create his toy company and who later became the cornerstone of the company's early growth and expansion.
Geraldine Viswanathan shines as Maya, a tech-savvy teen intern who played a crucial role in leveraging the power of the internet to propel Beanie Babies into a global phenomenon.
And Sarah Snook plays Sheila, a no-nonsense single mom with two young daughters that came up with the Beanie Babies concept along with many of the cute animal characters and their names.
Galifianakis' performance as Ty captures the main character's insecurities, narcissism, ambition, and ruthless pursuit of success despite the three women who made him a multimillionaire.
The film also explores the 1990s era, marked by the rapid rise of the internet, eBay, the unprecedented collectors' craze – all set to a classic 90's soundtrack.
Directors Kristin Gore and Damian Kulash, make their feature debut with the film, which was based on the book "The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute," by Zac Bissonnette.
Rated R and running 110 minutes, "The Beanie Bubble" is now streaming on Apple TV. The intriguing pop culture story and strong performances by the cast, especially Galifianakis' remarkable transformation, make it a film worth watching.