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There are three movies on the docket this week, with some old friends returning for another trip with a hot tub, a girl getting a makeover, and a group of runners, um, running.

Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Rotten Watch Prediction
If getting wasted in a hot tub was all I needed to do to alter the primary rules of space and time, then you best believe this world would look a hell of a lot different. I’d jump into that thing every chance I had for a soak and trip down memory lane. In fact, I might never get out of the tub. Just me, a twacker of PBR and the chance to turn on the jets and redo middle school all over again? Sounds perfect.

See Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke take another trip through the bubbles in the trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine 2:
John Cusack doesn’t return for the sequel, but the rest of the gang is back up to their time-traveling ways, entering Jacuzzi-generated temporal vortexes and altering the future, past, and present all in an effort to make us laugh. I mean it’s about a time machine in a hot tub. I suspect we know again what we are getting here.

The first run through with the Hot Tub Time Machine (63%) had me laughing, and critics fairly pleased. It’s a purposefully idiotic concept that generally worked because the folks involved have serious comedic chops - and that’s typically the not-so-secret sauce for comedy flicks. Make sure the writing is fairly tight, and the characters can deliver the laughs. The situations are somewhat inconsequential (as evidenced by the premise) as long as the main players can bring it. This group can.

Also back is director Steve Pink who helmed the first flick as well as movies About Last Night (68%) and Accepted (36%). If the trailer is any indication (especially the red band offering) this sequel will be raunchy, graphic, stupid and funny all at once. It won’t be a great movie, obviously, as you need to expect stupidity when walking across the movie theater threshold, but I think a good number of critics will give it a pass and the film’s target audience will eat it up.
Rotten Watch Prediction
I could see how making a movie like The DUFF might have made sense if it were made in the 1980’s - a time when many a flick revolved around some cool kid "fixing" some nerd for some reason or another. Those movies carried the "ugly duckling" theme out to terrible (faux inspirational) ends, with the nerdy girl or boy ultimately turning into something better than they were, and the cool kid realizing that the nerdy kid is actually cool or hot or whatever. Those themes were bad then and nothing has changed… except that for some reason we are getting a new one. And it looks horrible at best, damaging at worst.

See what I mean in the trailer for The DUFF below:
Not to be confused with the beer of the same name from The Simpsons, DUFF stands for "Designated Ugly Fat Friend". As the father of a young girl, I’m imploring people nationwide to ban this piece of shit. Don’t confuse the story with something meant to portray the idea that one can reinvent themselves with the help of caring kids. This girl doesn’t need to reinvent herself. From what is plainly obvious, she is neither ugly nor fat (and it wouldn’t matter if she was). Implying (or flat out saying) that she is sends exactly the wrong message. Can you tell I’m annoyed here?

Starring Mae Whitman, The DUFF centers around a girl who’s told that she is the designated ugly friend in her group and sets out, with the help of the popular jock, to dress/look/act/feel better about herself by buying new clothes and getting a makeover or whatever. I suppose there is some chance the production redeems itself by the end, but I seriously doubt it.

I rarely am annoyed by the premise of a movie. If something looks bad, who cares, I won’t see it. But what I’m concerned with here is that others (specifically younger girls) will see this movie and think that this sort of reinvention is necessary. It’s not. You’re fine the way you are. This premise would suggest you fall into a predetermined category and should fight your way out of it. Don’t see it.
McFarland, USA
Rotten Watch Prediction
Back in high school, we had to run the mile in under six minutes to make the soccer team. During one run, one of the better distance runners on the team broke out to a huge lead and was in line for a sub five-minute mile as he flew around the track. In the last quarter mile he started to run a little funny. In the last eighth of the mile he really started flopping around. With about a hundred yards left, he fell down on the track. Seems he had eaten a full Italian hoagie with the works about 15 minutes before the race, and it was rearing its ugly head in the form of debilitating cramps. He never finished. This is the movie Disney should have done about running. I don’t know if it would be as inspirational as McFarland, USA, but man it’d be entertaining.

See some other runners in the trailer for McFarland, USA below:
Based on a true story, McFarland, USA is the tale of a cross country team in California who emerged from relative obscurity to compete at the highest levels in the state. They are a town made up primarily of immigrant workers with little money. Kevin Costner plays a PE teacher who forms the team and leads the group of runners to the state championships. This thing has Disney written all over it, from the down-on-his-luck teacher leading an equally down-on-their-luck group of students to what will assuredly be a tearful and chill-inducing final third of the flick.

Director Niki Caro has had critical success with her two previous works, Whale Rider (90%) and North Country (68%). This latest film should follow suit. It’s a safe topic that would be awfully difficult to screw up in terms of critical buy in. This isn’t a knock on it, of course. Movies with heart-warming stories centered around a group of kids who appear real easy to root for have a key place in the sports movie world. I love these kinds of films as long as they don’t go overboard with the sappiness. Keep it safe, tight and to the story. The good stuff’s already been written. Just get it on the screen.

It appears that’s the case as some early reviews are trending positive, with many critics saying the story is simple, direct, touching and worth watching. I think the scores stays high.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?

last rotten week Last week was a very solid one for the Rotten Watch, as I scored on both movies. First off, Fifty Shades of Grey (Predicted: 17% Actual: 26%) came in a little better than expected, but still within ten percent of my prediction. If anything, I thought I had gone too high with my guess, and worried it would easily fall in the single digits. Gregory Wakeman gave it one and a half stars in his review. Gregory called the movie a "cinematic abomination," something along the lines I expected most critics to weigh in with. Most did, but enough chimed in liking the flick that the score trended just a little higher than I thought.

Meanwhile, Kingsman: The Secret Service (Predicted: 79% Actual: 71%) just fell within range as the score dipped quite a bit over the course of the week. Sean O’Connell loved the movie, giving it four and a half stars. He heaped praise on the film, praising everything from the action sequences, to the script, to the cast. Sean loved it. He was a bit more bullish than his critical brethren, but the score stayed in range and we went two for two last week.

Next time around we Focus on the Lazarus Effect. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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