March 26, 2010, - 5:19 pm

Weekend Box Office: “Hot Tub Time Machine,” “Chloe,” “Greenberg”

By Debbie Schlussel

It’s another weekend to rent or watch a movie on demand.  Nothing new at the box office is worth wasting ten bucks.



*  “Hot Tub Time Machine“:  The title should be a giant hint.  It stinks.  This movie tries really, really hard to be this year’s version of the equally bad, “The Hangover” (read my review).  I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  Crude, vulgar, crass, and stupid.  That about sums it up.  Wow, John Cusack (the biggest star in this movie) must really be desperate for a paycheck.  Ditto for Chevy Chase, who makes a few brief appearances.  I barely laughed.  Mostly the jokes were cheesy and stupid.  And the movie was largely an excuse to show multiple shots of topless women, fill a script with four letter words, and get royalties for desperate, balding former hair bands and one-hit wonders from the ’80s, whose songs make up the soundtrack.

The plot (if you can call it that):  three guys used to be in a band in the ’80s.  Now they are losers and nobodies and unhappy with how their lives turned out.  One of them accidentally nearly kills himself in his garage.  The other two take him and a nephew of one of the men to the ski resort where their band used to play in the ’80s.  It’s decrepit and run-down, and not how they remembered it.  While they are in the hot tub, they spill an energy drink on the tub’s controls and it turns into a time machine, which has transported them back to the 1980s.

The rest of the movie is stupid hijinks trying to make things right and get back to the present time.  Frankly, I wish the dopes who made this flick were stuck in the ’80s and never became filmmakers.  After seeing this movie, I could argue that my wish came true, but with poor results.

Simply more of the Hollywood garbage that signals America’s decline.


* “Chloe“: What could have been an interesting thriller became instead a stupid reincarnation of “Fatal Attraction,” the lipstick lesbian edition. It seems like it was written merely as an excuse to show explicit lesbian sex scenes between a topless Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore, and give Seyfried filthy, graphic dialogue. The movie was absolutely horrible. The filmmakers spent more time on a style than substance, as the movie was beautiful to look at, but the script and subject matter was just nasty.

Moore plays an OB/GYN in Toronto who suspects her husband (Liam Neeson) of cheating on her. She hires prostitute Seyfried to come on to her husband and report back if he accepts the advances. Soon it becomes clear that things are not what they seem. I figured it out at the beginning of the movie, since it just wasn’t that sophisticated nor very interesting.



* “Greenberg“: A mentally unstable brother (Ben Stiller) of a successful Hollywood figure comes to Los Angeles to stay at his brother’s home. His brother is on vacation and Stiller has just been released from a mental hospital. He is like an overgrown kid in the body of a 40-something man. He once was in a successful band on the brink of stardom, but was so selfish, he refused to sign the record deal and ruined his and everyone’s life. Now, all he has are old dreams and wishes he could be with the girl he dated as a teen.

Greenberg has an affair with his brother’s personal assistant and re-unites with old friends who have all grown up and don’t relate to him. I found this movie depressing, pointless, and a waste of time. Plus it was quite vulgar and crude in language and certain situations. On the other hand, I laughed a lot, and there are some good rants by Greenberg against the spoiled, self-centered college students of today.

Those, however, are not enough to change the fact that this movie isn’t worth the time or the money.


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28 Responses

Debbie’s movie reviews are hit-and-miss, but that’s teh case with most reviewers and their opinions. The only exception is she’s usually on the mark with panning the gratuitous T&A plopped in just about every >PG rated film these days (in G filsm, it’s the fart jokes that are now mandatory.) I don’t object to seeing T&A or flatulence in proper context, but having to put it every movie to placate the average midless dullard in the target audience spoils the creative aspect of cinematic art in general.

DS_ROCKS! on March 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    If you want to watch T&A, then go rent porn. Really. There’s no reason whatsoever for it at all in mainstream h’wood project. None whatsoever.
    Look at history. Classic Hollywood got along fine without it.
    No reason. Or for excessively vulgar language.
    T&A? Probably coming from a pre-teen juvenille who’d rather be producing porno, but wants respectability so….slip in a little dirt, no one’ll really notice.
    So, really. No reason for it. Again, want to see it? Go rent the real stuff. Porn. At least its honest not pretending to be “art”.

    Jimmy on March 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Hummm, theators in WA are now charging $20.00 just to get in the door for 3D movies! Add $15.00 popcorn and $10.00 small drinks and just whom do the makers of this trash think is going to be able to afford it anymore…serves them right.

Sulaco on March 26, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Hmm, another weekend that I will vote with my dollars and stay home. I am looking forward to more case info on H and the Freedom A.

linda on March 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I feel for anyone who because of their job they’re forced to watch these movies of the day. Most of the producers today were born in the eigthties from coke-filled me, me, me parents with these darn kids crampin’ my style. Hence they are these soulless vaquous airheads with no rhyme reason or direction. So when they look within themselves to produce a movie theres nothing to draw upon. Thats why you see many remakes such as Chloe v. Fatal Attraction. Movies make it to DVD so fast now I just wait for it to rent at the grocery store.

ARISHEM on March 26, 2010 at 6:06 pm

ESPN has mentioned Hot Tub atleast 25 times today, I wonder if they’re receiving kickbacks for the mention. Whatta waist of airtime.

ARISHEM on March 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Was Liam Neeson good in “Chloe” at least? I know he’s one of your favorite actors.

M: He was okay, but barely in the movie. And the movie stank. DS

Matthew on March 26, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Is it just me or does Julianne Moore keeps getting hotter and hotter as she gets older?

Kayle Igelstrom on March 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Mm….no. It’s you. JUST you. She’s pushing 60. It’s you. OR…it’s movie magic (translation: soft focus lenses and gause scene shooting)
    Exact same thing could be said for Sarandon, Joan Collins, Raquel Welch, Liz Taylor, etc.

    Jimmy on March 26, 2010 at 8:10 pm

      I think women can be “hot” as long as they feel that way. It’s a shame so many of them take men way too seriously.

      Graty Slapchop on March 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm

        “Hot,cold”, what’s that supposed to mean. Besides, the only reason certain people are “hot” is that other people view them that way. If they consider themselves that then they’re way too vain.

        gerob on March 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

Could someone please explain to me, how Ben Stiller has made it as a leading man?
I absolutely do not get it. While you are at it explain Adam Sandler to me as well.

Davida on March 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Ben Stiller made it due to his parents and who they knew.

    Adam Sandler… well, you have me stumped on that one. I don’t get it either.

    PatsPFS on March 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm

There are way too many lame people with too much money and too much time on their hands. When are the adults going to take charge? Hollywood is a travesty.

JeffT on March 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Debbie, excellent reviews as always. You wrote about Hot Tub Time Machine that it was “simply more of the Hollywood garbage that signals America’s decline.” Perfectly put. All–including the liberal subtext– part of the general decay. The movie was trashy, stupid, and unimaginative. Every joke fell flat (except the half-minute-long telephone call to the wife near the end). Also, all the characters were repellant. The screenplay goofed on the Eighties as the decade of “Reagan and AIDS.” In a subplot, right-wing zealots sat around watching (John Milius’ famously conservative) Red Dawn. “Having a good time” was defined as snorting coke. This was a complete misfire (I liked The Hangover, by the way).

Chloe did resemble Fatal Attraction a little. I myself would describe it as Basic Instinct meets Poison Ivy. The guy who directed, Egoyan, used to be famous for making movies about weird sex and symbiotically blended characters (e.g., Exotica), and that’s what this film was. So it was more than simply a generic thriller, I thought. Also, Julianne Moore looked old, yes, but that was appropriate to the story in this case.

Also saw How to Train a Dragon, which I liked a fair amount (despite some pacifist themes). Also saw at the art theater Yellow Handkerchief (William Hurt) which I loved. Also saw Last Station which I enjoyed (because I like English humor). Also saw The Runaways–all about the good old days when kids ran around popping pills, getting drunk, using coke all without mean parents supervising.

Burke on March 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm

“HTTM”-pass. It’s all on the writer(s) who cannabalize their teenage dreams, as that is ALL they’ve got.
Writing from experiences is fine…if the experiences are worth writing about. One example:
Not a movie, but “Slings And Arrows”, the TV show about a Shakespearian acting group, is written and acted by actors who lived that life. Insightful, funny, and grown up angst instead of that hot tub stuff makes it very good.
I had never heard of “Greenberg” until this review. Stiller is always ‘acting’, pretending instead of connecting with an audience on an emotional level.

Douglas Q on March 27, 2010 at 12:18 am

The way you described hot tub time machine. Now I want to see it. Thanks.

Christopher Nelson on March 27, 2010 at 1:27 am

With reality sinking in for the obama CONstituents, the hot tub slime is as pretty as it’s going to get for the foreseeable future. Fantasizing about what could have been, and not a crappy communist dictatorship on crack.

AMERICA BETRAYED on March 27, 2010 at 9:18 am

I have a fantasy of Algore hiding in a refrigerator trying to escape globull warming.

AMERICA BETRAYED on March 27, 2010 at 9:24 am

    It’s probably what we’re going to be doing when the eco-police are forcing us to turn our thermostats up when we try to stay cool this summer.

    gerob on March 27, 2010 at 10:45 am

My wife and I saw Greenberg last night and shortly before it ended I whispered to her, “I don’t know where this is going”. She said, “Neither do I”.

We still don’t.

stevecanuck on March 27, 2010 at 11:34 am

To Jimmy: Julianne Moore is 49, which only someone who’s 12 would call “pushing 60”. Maybe when your acne clears up you’ll begin to realize there’s more to “hot” than just the vapid beauty of youth. Character and maturity become real turn-ons when you develop some of your own.

Robert Sweeney on March 27, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Why are chicks always in such a hurry to get naked for crappy movies? They can’t even use the “it’s art” or “tastefully done” excuses. It’s rather pathetic, really.

I just don’t understand why they’re all willing to whore themselves out for a no-name part in a stupid movie. Have some respect for yourselves. A man’s entire life is about trying to see as many girls naked as possible. You certainly don’t have to make it any easier for them.

Matt on March 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

“he way you described hot tub time machine. Now I want to see it. Thanks.

Christopher Nelson on March 27, 2010 at 1:27 am”


Bob Porrazzo on March 28, 2010 at 6:51 am

“Simply more of the Hollywood garbage that signals America’s decline.”
Why is that every generation thinks they’re living in the end times? How frinkin’ vain.

1. Keep in made Hollywood has always turned out “garbage.” The B movie after all was invented in the 50’s.

2. Sex has always sold movies. From Lana Turner to Gerad Butler, Hollywood has always used sex. And in film noir it was dirty sex.

3.Sulco they’re charging you more for a movie that cost them more to put in the theater, a movie they can’t show in 3D at every theater, shocking.

4. Matt, why do girls get naked? Because they think they’ll get somewhere. It’s the same reason they have sex.

5. Hollywood is a businesses. They will make movies that make money as long as people go and see them.

Pete Bone

Pete Bone on March 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Ms. DS you are definitely a voice of some reason and taste in that vast desert of greed, corruption and terminal psychopathy known as the “modern USA”. I discovered this site when i came upon your reportage of the sean hannity charity scandal, which i commented on here

drakke1 on March 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Julianne wasn’t “hot” 25 years ago and she sho aint now.
As for Ben I don get it either. The senior matinee price around here is $7 and the last time I ponied up that amount was for “Taken” which I’ve watched at least 5 more times on cable.
Itz almost perfect … good guy (dad) kicks bad guy butt all over froggie land including a corrupt (I know redundant) frog cop. The only bad part was the end where the daughter gets the meeting with the rock diva. Dad shoulda got the rock diva as a reward for all the bad guy btt kickin.

G-Tom on March 30, 2010 at 10:25 am

I agree with your view of Greenberg. It was just a stupid movie with characters I couldn’t identify with acting in unrealistic ways. I was not interested in them at all. Watching this movie was a waste of my time.

However I like Hot Tub Time Machine. It was also totally unbelieveable, but funny. And you got it wrong; only one character was in an 80s band, not all of them.

Bro on February 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

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