Tuesday, June 19, 2018
  • The Feed
  • What you're talking about today

Review: ‘Future Man’ serves up cheesy nostalgia, dirty jokes in new sci-fi comedy

Josh Hutcherson has come a long way since his stint as the brooding, lovesick Peta in The Hunger Games.

In Hulu's new series Future Man, he plays Josh Futterman, a janitor at a medical research lab by day and an obsessive videogamer (screen name: Future man) by night. When he finally beats a reportedly unbeatable game one night, he's visited by time traveling soldiers from the future who believe he's "the Savior" of humanity.

Yes, just like The Last Starfighter.

But Josh isn't chosen to save the world from cyborgs or fight space wars. No, he's recruited to help kill the man who invented a cure for herpes. Apparently, the eradication of the contagious disease results in the destruction of humankind.

Super soldiers Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson) surprise Josh in flagrante delicto and quickly realize his video game combat skills don't translate into real life in any way they expected. The two's lack of empathy and complete disconnect with Josh's culture make them perfectly crude exaggerations of The Terminator's Kyle Reese.

Josh is like a dumpy Marty McFly, a loveable loser-turned hero who has to use his knowledge of pop culture to school Tiger and Wolf on "time travel 101." There's even a moment when Josh is lamenting to another character about how difficult it must be for Marty to fake his way through a changed reality, and another that's comically identical to the moment when Marty's guitar skills inspire Chuck Berry over the phone.

With Future Man, Hulu may have successfully created an almost-perfect sci-fi comedy hybrid. It mixes cheesy nostalgia and hat tips to classics like The Last Starfighter and Back to the Future with crude, juvenile humor. It's a B-movie comedy with a complex sci-fi plot that doesn't take itself seriously at all.

The series has a sense of self-awareness that keeps it from being a cheap knockoff of other nostalgic sci-fi series out there. As soon as you start to think "Did they just reference…?" Josh chimes in with something along the lines of "that's the exact plot of Minority Report."

It's hard to shame something that goes out of its way to be absurdly cheesy and to build a world where even the characters don't take themselves too seriously. The actors often look just seconds away from bursting out laughing.

The series is so clearly from the minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Sausage Party). Future Man isn't trying to create high brow nostalgia. It certainly gives nods to numerous '80s sci-fi classics, but at the same time skewers them and other pieces of pop culture.

It roasts everything and everyone from video gamers, Bill Cosby, Halo, kombucha and Luigi's anatomy. There's an even an episode dedicated almost entirely to ridiculing Avatar director James Cameron.

If you're looking for urbane humor and nostalgia, Future Man doesn't really have it. It's silly, profane and predictable. It never aims for acclaim. And that's why it works.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.

Watch

Future Man

All 14 episodes available at midnight Tuesday on Hulu.

MORE

Star Wars: A peek at the costumes coming to Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg

Fast and Furious: Universal Orlando reveals details for new ride

My Favorite Murder: Podcast hosts explore Florida murders, Seminole Heights killings

Comments
WATCH: New live-action Dumbo trailer

WATCH: New live-action Dumbo trailer

Disney dropped the a new trailer for Tim Burton’s dark live-action Dumbo reboot Tuesday. The short trailer features a gloomy take on the song “Baby Mine” and already has fans ready to reach for the tissues. one day Disney will re...
Published: 06/14/18
’Florida Man: Poems’ is non-fiction poetry inspired by the viral Florida phenomenon

’Florida Man: Poems’ is non-fiction poetry inspired by the viral Florida phenomenon

Tyler Gillespie describes himself in his Twitter bio as a “pale Floridian + reporter,” but says he’s not a “Florida Man,” capital F, capital M.“No, I think ‘Florida Man’ means someone publicly shamed an...
Published: 06/07/18
Ax throwing trend arrives in St. Pete via Ferg’s Sports Bar

Ax throwing trend arrives in St. Pete via Ferg’s Sports Bar

Gone are the days when St. Petersburg residents must travel across Tampa Bay to visit one of Tampa’s two ax throwing establishments. Soon you’ll be able to hurl axes toward a wooden target at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill, which so...
Published: 06/07/18
Lutz teen a finalist in Google's doodle contest

Lutz teen a finalist in Google's doodle contest

His artwork was selected from more than 100,000 entrants.
Published: 06/07/18
Live ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ with Joel Hodgson, Jonah Ray coming to Orlando

Live ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ with Joel Hodgson, Jonah Ray coming to Orlando

In the not too distant future — October, to be precise — you'll be able to experience Mystery Science Theater 3000 in Florida.The cult comedy series, which ran throughout the '90s on Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi Channel and was revived b...
Updated one month ago
‘Sherlock’ star raced to save a man from attackers, Uber driver says

‘Sherlock’ star raced to save a man from attackers, Uber driver says

Consider this: You're in a group of muggers in London, trying to steal a delivery man's bike, and Sherlock Holmes comes barreling at you.What do you do? Ask for an autograph? Run?Four would-be thieves chose Option 2, fleeing after actor Benedict Cumb...
Updated one month ago
Bill Clinton, James Patterson talk to young readers about their thriller ‘The President Is Missing’

Bill Clinton, James Patterson talk to young readers about their thriller ‘The President Is Missing’

When former President Bill Clinton and bestselling author James Patterson appeared on stage in New York to promote their new book, the moderator asked if its title — The President Is Missing — was wishful thinking.Patterson laughed. "The ...
Updated one month ago
Does a Milli Vanilli song define your life? Find out now.

Does a Milli Vanilli song define your life? Find out now.

On May 29, Twitter user @swank0cean tweeted, "I've just read that apparently the song that was number 1 on your 14th birthday defines your life."I’ve just read that apparently the song that was number 1 on your 14th birthday defines your life &...
Updated one month ago
See the documentary Starbucks showed workers at racial bias training

See the documentary Starbucks showed workers at racial bias training

When Starbucks closed to train employees on issues related to racial bias, the employees were shown this video by Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson.
Updated one month ago
There’s a new ‘Bachelorette’ contestant from St. Petersburg

There’s a new ‘Bachelorette’ contestant from St. Petersburg

When ABC’s reality dating competition The Bachelorette returns next week, the pool of 28 contestants vying for love and roses from Becca Kufrin will include a fitness trainer who lives in St. Petersburg. Here’s what we know about 25-year...
Updated one month ago