Thursday, April 1, 2010

WWDMCD - Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Have you ever watched a movie and said “what the hell? Why’d they do that! They should have done this instead…” and then went on long diatribes about how you could have made the movie so much better? No? Well, I do. And now I’m writing for a film blog, so it makes it okay. Introducing – WWDMCD. Aka – What Would DubMc Do?

Wait wait wait! Don’t click away! Please? I promise this won’t be totally stupid. Just give me a chance, okay? Plus you can totally disagree with me and make fun of me in the comments section! That will be fun, right? Right. So let’s go…

Josh Heald’s script for Hot Tub Time Machine had been doing the proverbial Hollywood shuffle for years before finding its way to the screen. When it finally did, it came in the form of a penultimate John Cusack 80s flick, a last a chance shot at the good old days, at awesomely cheesy 80s glory. She’s Out of My League writers Sean Anders and John Morris came in to rewrite the script, and what they created…well, it wasn’t quite glory...

I read Heald’s script last summer to see what all the hooplah was about. It was funny. It was good. And it was incredibly different from what I saw onscreen. But were the changes for the better?

Yes and no.

Here’s Josh Heald’s opening;

Awesome already, right? Well it gets better. While the screen version eases into things with a few quasi-interesting establishing scenes (Nick pulling car keys out of a dog’s ass, Adam returning home after his girlfriend moved out), Heald’s script jumps right into the boiling hot comedy waters, putting us in the bedroom with Adam and his fiancé Lily as they prepare for his upcoming bachelor party weekend. Lily wants to send Adam off with a sexy little reminder of what he’ll be coming home too.

Fun start, right? A good memorable scene that sets the tone right off the bat. Aside from the odd choice to call Nick “the black man” it’s a winner.

Oh and hey – ADAM IS ENGAGED! There’s a whole, major character here that wasn’t even in the movie. And what’s more, Lily doesn’t suck. She plays sex games. She makes Adam sandwiches for the road. She takes away his phone so he doesn’t have to worry about calling her while on his trip. She doesn’t steal his flat screen TV. Are they in love? Who knows? But her very existence raises the stakes for Cusack’s character, giving him something to betray/come back to/lose as the movie proceeds.

Also of note – the reason they’re leaving isn’t because Lou’s suicidal. It’s the more natural bachelor party excuse. Did they change this because of The Hangover? Maybe.

Anyway, Adam and The Black Guy (aka Nick) hit the road. Nick is essentially the same good guy, a little worn down by life and his overbearing wife. This weekend is big to him

Another good, fun scene. We’re establishing the characters, their worlds…you can see Craig Robinson just rocking these lines.

And then we move on to Rob Corddry’s character Lou. In the movie, he’s drunk and suicidal, but we’re not sure why. He rolls around in a sweet muscle car, seems to own a house…sure he’s a little lonely, but why does that make him suicidal? Is it cause he’s bald? Bruce Willis isn’t fricken sucidal! Anyway, here’s how we meet Lou:

"All my belongings."  Is that not awesome? Is Lou not an instantly memorable character? THIS GUY should be suicidal. And yet he’s not, because he loves hating life too much.

Moving on, we get Jacob. No longer Adam’s nephew, he’s the metro-sexual younger brother. Lou still hates him.

That gay joke is the only one to make it to the film thus far. Interesting. Anyway, the rest of the trip is pretty funny, but I can’t post the whole damn script in here so you’ll just have to find it yourself.

From here on in, the re-write from Anders and Morris is a better script. Heald’s original take is full of random ‘80s vs. ‘00s, but feels directionless and lacks purpose. Anders and Morris were able to give each of the characters a mission, even if they gave their lead the weakest one. In fact, everything they improved in what you see on the screen comes at the cost of Cusack’s character. In the original take, he’s a classic groom-to-be, trying to get back to his fiancé and their wedding in the future while reconnecting with his “White Buffalo” a blonde bombshell he’s fantasized about since he was a kid.

This is different from the movie, in which he already has the girl and needs to dump her for some reason. Here he’s given a choice, a path to travel. He’s given something to do. It’s something the movie really would have benefited from (as opposed to the half-assed fling with Lizzy Caplan’s rock journalist character) and I have no idea why they cut it. Even if it wasn’t a bachelor party, he could have still been a man with these decisions. He could still have been an actual character.

Could a hybrid of Heald’s opening (with the storylines it introduced) and what we get onscreen have turned a cool flick into a good movie? We’ll never know...

But the answer is yes.

1 comment:

The Bru said...

Dude, I'm more curious to see it now. Nice job! Uncle Scott would have been proud!


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