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Hot Water

Written by: Larry Rippenkroeger |   Directed by: Larry Rippenkroeger |  Genre: Action/Comedy

 If I were to describe Larry Rippenkroeger’s film Hot Water, it would be something like crossing the American Pie movies with your favorite sports, surfer/jet-ski adventure films. If you can envision the cross, you’ll completely understand the vibe Hot Water gives. I like, I like. Billy (Glen McCuen) is your typical party-hard, screw-up young man with a love for jet-skiing and not a lot else. According to his father (Michael Papajohn) Billy is a quitter and a disappointment. After a prank that goes horribly wrong, Billy’s father and tow truck operator Danny (Max Adler) concoct a plan to not only make Billy’s father look like a supportive dad, but also get him away for the summer. Danny knows a retired jet-ski champion that, with a little conning, will coach Billy into the championships. Three birds with one stone for Billy’s pops. Ad revenue for a sponsor, looking supportive, and getting Billy out of his hair.

 Things go as expected. Billy meets potential love interest Kelly (Nikki Leigh) and rival Richard (Brian Combs); there’s some partying. There are some jokes, and we get our lovable loser that gets picked on all the time with Danny Dog.  Hot Water progresses just as you’d expect it to unfold and as the second act ends and the third begins, things get more complicated. Billy and Kelly’s relationship is put to the test, and the team even loses their jet-ski. We all know the format of this film, and I believe it’s all the better for it. Before the end of the movie, we get some relationship closure with Billy and his dad, and an unexpected final race outcome that hinges on a decision from Kelly. I won’t spoil it all for you, but the bottom line is this. I had a good time watching this movie, and if you’re a fan of any of the films I mentioned above, Hot Water should be on your watch list.

 Part of what made this a good movie for me was the familiar feeling. It was like comfort food, and once I settled in, the only thing missing was some macaroni and cheese. I don’t mean that as a negative, Hot Water is its own story and isn’t a carbon copy, word for word, of another film. But the similar feeling it gives off let me easily fall into the film. It was silly at times, and if it were anything else, it just wouldn’t have worked. Surprisingly, there were also some really touching moments as well. Not many, but a few. And the way they were acted out was handled excellently. Real-sounding dialog when the movie called for it was spot on, and the actors nailed their parts.

 There’s really not a whole lot more to say. You know the setup and the way things will play out; it’s practically written into this type of film. But that doesn’t make it any less entertaining and, in fact, makes Hot Water even more endearing. This isn’t a movie that will change the world, or win an Oscar or something. This is a film that is all about how it makes you feel when you watch it. If you never grew up with this style of film back in the 1990s and 2000s, you may not like it quite as much as I did. But for me? Four and a half stars. Thank you for reading.

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