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HOT TUB TIME MACHINE MOVIE DRAWS MUCH NEEDED ATTENTION TO THE SPA INDUSTRY

03/19/2010
From Poolandspa.com Online Newsletter March 2010
And Los Angeles Times, Steven Zeitchik

Hot Tub Time Machine Movie Ad - Poolandspa.com

In Theaters March 26, 2010

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the hot tub spa and swimming pool industry has certainly been hit hard by this recession.  Combine the bad weather with the slow economy, and the continuing housing market meltdown and you get a "Perfect Storm" of disaster for many swimming pool and spa manufacturers, stores and dealers across the nation.  Many pool builders and spa dealers are reporting their new pool & spa sales down by up to 90% so far this year.  As one industry expert said recently, "This is the worst our industry has ever seen, and probably will ever see in our lifetimes. This will not be a recoverable situation for many pool & spa companies across the country".

However there may be a surprising big boost to hot tub sales nationwide - certainly not pre-planned by anyone within the crippled hot tub industry.  The big boost could come from an odd, quirky movie that premiered in Hollywood on 03/18/10 (opening nationwide on 03/26/10) called "Hot Tub Time Machine".  While most likely not Oscar material, the off-beat comedy featuring John Cusak, Craig Robinson, Chevy Chase & Rob Corddry is sure to attract much needed attention to the world of backyard-based hot tubs, spas and jacuzzi's.  The industry will most definitely see a surge in sales over the next few months, whether or not the movie hits or bombs.

Hot Tub Links:

Read Hot Tub Time Machine Movie Review From Los Angeles Times:

Here is the review from the Los Angeles Times from 03/18/10:

Hot Tub Time Machine Cast - Poolandspa.com

Hot Tub Time Machine - The Gross-Out Comedy AS 1980's Movie Rummage Sale

It's unlikely the American Film Institute will be calling the producers of "Hot Tub Time Machine" for a print of their movie any time soon. But after catching the comedy at its Hollywood premiere last night, we have to give its credit for something we didn't anticipate: an unlikely tour through recent Hollywood history.

On one level, "Hot Tub" is the same gross-out comedy you'd expect from the writers who brought you the outsized raunch (but not necessarily the outsized comedy) of "Sexdrive." Catheters get yanked out to scatological effect, a man's shoulder socket spews blood "Saw"-style, the prospect of male-on-male fellatio is trotted out, exploited, overdone. An exuberantly alcoholic Rob Corddry vamps around the screen acting crazier than a hyena on Ecstasy.

Actually, on pretty much every level "Hot Tub" is the gross-out comedy you'd expect.

But in subtle and sly moments, Steve Pink's film -- which, as the title makes no effort to obscure, is about a group of 30-something underachievers who jump back to their high-school selves thanks to a magical jacuzzi -- has a little more on its mind. Instead of just plopping the characters back in the Reagan era and tricking then out in Miami Vice colors, it offers up a full serving of references, generally made with little fanfare, to 1980s films.

There are implicit allusions to "Real Genius" and "Sixteen Candles." There are explicit references to "Red Dawn" ("Russkies!") "Better Off Dead" ("I want my two dollars") and "The Karate Kid" ("Put him in a body bag," from a couple characters modeled after the "You're dead meat" guys.). And, of course, there's the whole "Back to the Future" leitmotif, what with the time travel back to high school, the fears of people disappearing because of the butterfly effect, and characters trying to avoid sleeping with their mothers. There's even an "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance scene, only here's it's the music of the Black-Eyed Peas, not Chuck Berry, that gets imported from the future.

Meanwhile, John Cusack , perhaps the ultimate '80s-film reference point, is not only in the picture -- he's basically playing a version of himself from his "Say Anything" days: the good-hearted but still slightly dangerous romantic. In fact, the whole premise of "Hot Tub Time Machine" harks back to the '80s, when not only "Back to the Future" but time-travel movies as different as "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "The Terminator" came into their own.

There have been movies, such as "The Wedding Singer" and "Adventureland," that were either in or about the '80s. But it turns out "Hot Tub Time Machine" isn't really a movie about the '80s. It's a movie about '80s movies. (Taken with "MacGruber," the SXSW sensation that trades on the action-movie cliches of that decade, the two form a little duo of meta-ness.)

It's hard to know if the young male audience that "Hot Tub" is aimed at will catch many of the Easter eggs, or care much about them. That's the commercial gamble for studio MGM, which may find that the target audience of males in their teens and 20's miss the movie's best jokes, while those in their 30's and 40's may be a little too old to run to a gross-out comedy on opening weekend. But there's something fun just the same about a movie trying to accomplish two things at once.

It reminds us a little of the two-handed approach in which a silly joke was followed by a sophisticated one in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" -- which, incidentally, seems to be the only '80s movie not referenced here.

-- Steven Zeitchik, Los Angels Times

Photos: "Hot Tub Time Machine." Credit: MGM