1. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Paramount, 2,880 Theaters, 93 Minutes, Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence, Rotten Tomatoes rating as of press time : 16% Fresh [38 Reviews]): The first Hot Tub Time Machine worked and worked on a number of levels. Weirdly, it was a return to the 1980’s teen comedies that gave John Cusack his start. It played with the conventions of the time-travel genre, mocking everything from the method of travel (a hot tub is silly, but is it really that much more silly than a British Police box or a DeLorean?) to the “we can’t change the future’ trope (the characters not only change their own future, they profit greatly from it). And it married the 80s raunchiness with the 10s raunchiness.
Well, Cusack is nowhere to be found this time around (supposedly, he wasn’t asked back, even though he produced the first film.). Almost all the tropes were covered the first time around, This leaves only the raunchiness.
This time, the boys have to break out the hot tub after Lou (Rob Corddry) gets shot. But instead of the past, the jacuzzi sends them to the future.
2. McFarland, USA (Disney, 2,755 Theaters, 128 Minutes, Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language, Rotten Tomatoes rating as of press time : 76% Fresh [56 Reviews]): Disney has done enough of these inspirational sports films in the recent years that they can mass produce them by this point. They could just build an assembly line, snap the pieces together, and send the result to movie theaters.
Does this sound familiar? An inspirational coach (Kevin Costner) sees talent in an unlikely group of athletes. Against all odds and facing prejudice and hard times, he molds the team into a championship level unit. Of course, the film is based on a true story.
But the pre-fab nature of the film and its similarities to other Disney films is not a bad thing. It is the best bet this week.
3. The DUFF (Lionsgate, 2,575 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying, Rotten Tomatoes rating as of press time : 59% Fresh [41 Reviews]): Just in case you were wondering, DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Apparently, this is a thing with high schoolers where they became friends with DUFF’s to make themselves look thinner and cuter.
The film is adapted from the book of the same name, and profiles on DUFF(Mae Whitman) and her attempt to break away from this stereotype.
Of course, it is funny to look at this film’s cast, most of whom are far from their high school years. The only star who is even close to high school age is Bella Thorne and she barely makes the cut at 17. The rest of the “kids” an average age of 24 years old.