Despite the snow that just pounded my town today in furious squalls, summer is just around the corner.
And what says summer better than a rousing beach comedy?
It wasn’t only interest in getting back in the water that turned me on to Hot Water.
Over the last year, I’ve come into a wealth of knowledge about jet skis, yet I’ve never been aboard. It turns out that Hot Water provides plenty of simulated jetski action. But that’s not all.
Hot Water takes your mind off of your societal woes for a while.
The flick is written and directed by Larry Rippenkroeger, a successful stuntman with 26 years in the profession behind him, ten of which he was Bruce Willis’ personal stunt double, who also happened to have a previous career as a — you guessed it — a pro jet skier!
Hot Water’s logline is “The hilarious misadventures of a cocky jet skier who gets his dream shot to compete on the pro jet ski tour.”
That sounds easy enough. It’s the perfect setup for a summer comedy, and Rippenkroeger found a cast that beautifully suits the bill, as well.
The story follows 21-year-old Billy Burnett (Glenn McCuen) as a young man struggling to find his place in the world after high school.
With dreams to become a pro jet skier, Billy can’t get his act together with more mundane jobs, and his father, Michael (Douglas Papajohn), wants to wash his hands of him after a stunt gone wrong costs Billy his job and his dad’s sweet vintage ride.
That reckless move catches the attention of Danny ‘Dog’ Bassett (Max Adler), who once rode the circuit with former jet ski pro champion Jarid Harper (Trevor Donovan).
Dog’s new venture, a towing company named Camel Towing (yes, that’s Dog’s intellectual level and indicative of the humor in Hot Water), isn’t in the same league as his previous gig.
Itching to get back on the circuit, Dog suggests to Billy’s dad that, to get him out of his hair, he should find a sponsor for the kid because if he’s not a retail genius, he just might be a pro jet skier champion in the making.
Dog lures Jarid into coaching, and the three set off on a summer adventure that finds them surrounded by pretty girls and in the line of fire of Jarid’s old nemesis and reigning champion Richard Hurt.”
What results is a movie that will be very appealing to teen boys and young men with all the raunchy humor and shenanigans they crave but without anything so salacious that parents wouldn’t want their young teens to see it.
It successfully skirts the edges without going over, which will benefit the flick in the long run.
Oh yes, there are girls in the movie, too.
Billy’s mom is played by former model Vanessa Angel, who gets top billing.
Billy’s love interest, Nikki, is played by Kelly Weber, and her best friend, Summer, is played by Stormi Henley. All three are beautiful and confident, traits their characters share, as well.
Donovan and Adler are recognizable and seasoned vets of the teen arena that Hot Water targets, Donovan on 90210 and Adler on Glee and Switched at Birth.
Overall, though, the cast doesn’t bring with it any specific expectations, and that allows Hot Water leeway to focus on fun and jet skiing, something it does very well.
The jet skiing scenes are exciting, a great introduction to the sport.
While surfing and boating normally get all the glory, jet skiing is a twist that captures your attention.
Rippenkroeger’s love of the sport and his experience with stunts is on full, exhilarating display.
It’s not something you see every day, and the skill it takes to stay on a jet ski while maneuvering those courses is incredible.
Still, there’s more to Hot Water than action and comedy.
Billy’s struggles to find his place in an adult world come in the wake of an absentee father who has given up hope that his son will amount to anything. Dog, then, becomes Billy’s saving grace.
Jarid’s re-entrance to the circuit comes with expectations, even if he’s only coaching. He holds Billy responsible for a rigid training schedule, showing him how to master his rough talent into professional skills.
With the freedom from responsibility Billy had to a rigorous education in what it takes to be a champion, Billy grows up on the circuit.
What unfolds is a warm coming-of-age tale, ultimately reuniting father and son and restoring our faith in hard work and discipline without losing faith that when given an opportunity to succeed, you can reach for the stars and achieve your dreams.
If you’re in the mood to kick back and enjoy the summer sun, drop into Hot Water for a few laughs, some super-toned bodies, and a lot of competitive action on the water.
Hot Water can be found on most VOD platforms, including Amazon, Apple, and Google.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.