Hulu's 'Future Man' is a sometimes predictable but enjoyable trip back to the future

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 05:28:33 AM. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg enlist Josh Hutcherson to play a new kind of game in the time-traveling comedy 'Future Man.'

"Future Man," which begins streaming Tuesday on , is a dark and sunny time travel comedy that, like a goofball "Stranger Things," wears its influences on its sleeve, around its neck and on the top of its head.

Created by Howard Overman (whose straight genre credits include "Misfits" and "Atlantis") with Ariel Shaffir and Kyle Hunter – who co-wrote the impertinent Pixar parody "Sausage Party" with and Evan Goldberg, who produce and direct here – it is, as those names might suggest, profane, obscene, sanguinary, silly and suspenseful by turns. And sometimes all at once.

Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games") plays Josh Futturman, a janitor at a pharmaceutical research company who still lives in his childhood room and obsessively plays a never-beaten video game in which the last gasp of ordinary humanity battles the genetically perfect people who want to erase them from Earth. He also has heroic masturbatory fantasies about one of its characters, Tiger. (It is perhaps not the most fortuitous moment to lead off with masturbation jokes, but good luck getting those out of the system. Whole comic empires would crumble.)

When Josh does finally beat the game, the actual Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and her lieutenant, Wolf (Derek WIlson), appear from the hellish future to hail him as "the savior" whose superior skills will lead them back into the light. The game itself was a vetting process, which, as the writers make no attempt to hide, is also the central conceit of the 1984 film "The Last Starfighter."

"It's the exact same plot as the movie," Josh tells Tiger.

"What's a movie?" asks Tiger, who in 2162 lives in a sewer and off of rats.

There are bits and pieces of “The Terminator” and “Back to the Future” sewn in and discussed, an extended riff on “2001: A Space Odyssey” and a long, satisfying takedown of a film director whose name I will leave you to discover for yourself.

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