Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

My girlfriend and I rarely see movies in theaters because we're usually pretty patient about seeing movies unless it's a real big one. Because of that, we finally got to see this movie not long after seeing my cousin again, because she has it. I don't really have a whole lot to say, but there were enough things I wanted to point out in a blog post.

Overall, I actually thought this movie was alright. Not as good as I thought it was going to be, but not as bad as it could've been, though there are a couple of things dragging this movie down. Usually, it's hard for me to criticize Comedies sometimes, since people have various humorous styles they're into, but even considering that, there are some things about Comedies that can be criticized otherwise, like if it's not a spoof movie and it's trying to be somewhat realistic, there can be very unrealistic moments that make you groan or roll your eyes instead of laugh or anything like that. That's the basis of my criticism for the worst scene in this movie. (By the way, spoilers ahead).

This is what happens in the worst scene in the movie: Nick (the black guy, for anyone who's confused) is supposed to try and keep the timeline flowing properly, so he has to play at a small venue with his band. What initially happened was that he was booed and made fun of, but he decides to take a different path by playing two songs from the future he knows are good. So first, he plays "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield. The problem with that is the fact that he seems to be playing it like it's a new song or something, but the movie takes place in 1986, and the song was released in 1981. Did the movie-makers or script-writers not do their research? All it takes is less than a minute online to figure it out. Not hard at all. However, that's forgivable because sometimes lesser-known bands may play a cover song at the start of their show just to get it going at a good pace.

And while I'm on the subject of getting things accurate and doing research, there's a joke at the end of the movie in which Lou (the bald guy) forms Motley Lou. It's obviously a play on the name Motley Crue, but that band was formed in, once again, 1981. As if that wasn't bad enough, here's another factoid: "Home Sweet Home" was released in 1985.

Anyway, speaking of getting things started, that's where I really have a problem with the scene. After "Jessie's Girl" is done, Nick says he's going to play a song from the future, which is an obvious nod to Back to the Future. I was thinking it could be Grunge, Alternative Rock, or even one of those House songs that were popular in the early to mid 90s, like Haddaway's "What is Love." However, the band starts to play "Let's Get it Started" by the Black Eyed Peas. It's not just that he played that song, but that everyone in the club, even before the song officially gets started (he's just going through the "runnin'" part) they not only immediately like the song, they also immediately know how to dance like people would do so in our current day and age. Now, with "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry in Back to the Future, that was a song that wasn't too far from being released, so it was close to the relevant period in which it changed the culture, and it actually isn't a bad song. With "Let's Get it Started," it's released twenty four years later into the future, and is being performed in a period that I'm quite sure would've disliked the song, since Hip-Hop was not that big a deal back in the 80s, at least not until late in the decade. Even then, that kind of Hip-Hop was far from being popular.

Considering all of that, here's what the more appropriate action should've been: Nick and his band should've been booed and insulted right then and there. In fact, that actually would've been kind of funny. That's good enough reason to do it right there, since, after all, this is a Comedy.

Other than that, although I thought the film was generally funny, I still had a bit of a problem with some of the humor. It seemed like it was trying a bit too hard to get people to laugh, especially because of the prevalence of Shock Humor. I don't generally dislike Shock Humor, but I do dislike it when it's relied upon too much, which this movie kind of did, especially with the character Lou. Most of his humor was derived from sort of over the top statements that he'd usually make, so he was my least favorite character because he actually wasn't very funny for most of the movie.

And just to add a bit to that, the kind of humor I was expecting was thekind that parodies Science Fiction concepts, since it's a Comedy about time travel. That could've been amazing, but no. They went to route of using pop culture references and Shock Humor.

And I guess the last thing I didn't like was just a minor complaint, but when they were talking about time paradoxes, they were referencing various movies and stuff. It's not that they mentioned them instead of just talking about paradoxes, since that's what would probably happen in real life anyway, but I would've preferred a couple of different references than what they used. This is just coming from a Science Fiction buff, so otherwise it's believable because people aren't total nerds like I am, but every time someone points out something from, say, The Butterfly Effect, I usually feel like mentioning that the movie took the concept from Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder."

There are probably more things I could harp on, but despite these criticisms, this movie isn't too bad, and I'd recommend at least a rental or something like that. Just as a warning, though, it is quite apparent that the filmmakers weren't trying very hard on this one.

P.S. I never thought I'd see Chevy Chase in a movie ever again, and seeing George McFly (the guy who played him in Back to the Future, I mean) again was cool, so great surprises there.

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