Ready for some laughs? Yes! About this time every year — at least for some of us – – it seems like winter is never going to morph into spring. Which means it’s the perfect time to distract ourselves with “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.” Also check out “The Duff,” starring Mae Whitman, and “McFarland USA,” starring Kevin Costner. Here’s a look at what’s opening wide in theaters this week.
PG-13 for some language and sexual content. In Theaters 2/20. Ok for Kids 13+. Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels.
Bianca (Mae Whitman, “Parenthood”) is a high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her as “The DUFF” (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends (Skyler Samuels and Bianca Santos). Despite words of caution from her favorite teacher (Ken Jeong), she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby (Nick Eversman), and enlists Wesley (Robbie Amell), a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison (Bella Thorne) and remind everyone that we are all someone’s DUFF!
PG for thematic material, some violence and language. In Theaters 02/20. Ok for Kids 9+. Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels.
Inspired by the 1987 true story, this movie follows novice runners from the economically challenged town of McFarland in California’s farm-rich Central Valley. The young athletes give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcome the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team, but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home. A sweet and similar follow-up to Disney’s “Million Dollar Arm.” I love a good inspirational sports movie, don’t you?
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2
R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nudity, drug use and some violence. In Theaters 2/20. Ok for Kids 17+. Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels.
In this follow-up to the smash 2010 comedy, we learn that Lou (Rob Corddry) is now the “father of the Internet.” But alas, when he’s shot by an unknown assailant, Jacob (Clark Duke) and Nick (Craig Robinson) fire up the time machine to save their friend. Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, and Chevy Chase also star in this comedy directed by Steve Pink, who directed the first movie. A good time will be had by all.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is a well-known film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.