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Terry David Mulligan
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Robert Downey Sr.
Robert Downey Jr.,
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I didn't know much about "Hugo Pool" when I rented it last night. It seemed to be about an interesting collection of quirky characters. What I found out is that it's a collection of quirky characters, all right, but interesting, they're not.
Here's the plot, such as it is. Alyssa Milano plays a pool cleaner. We follow her around for a day as she cleans a few pools and encounters quirky characters, some of whom are family members, others customers.
Ms. Milano is awful in the lead role. This is the caliber of acting you'd expect from the girl playing Laurie in the high school production of "Oklahoma". It's pretty much a one-note performance, as if she were told, "act impatient," so she responded by setting her jaw and stomping through the movie. Drive truck, pour chemicals, act impatient, encounter next customer, scold Mom, act impatient. No higher gear, no lower gear, just the one setting.
Sean Penn and Robert Downey Jr. are terrific actors. Something went wrong here, though. Mr. Downey does some sort of burned-out-Inspector-Clouseau routine, while Mr. Penn does some sort of grown-up-Jeff-Spicoli thing.
Whatever. At no time did I see any of these quirky characters as anything other than actors trying to act quirky.
And I kept thinking about the 44 pools Ms. Milano was supposed to clean in one day. Say 10 minutes per pool, and 10 minutes' drive between pools, and that's nearly a 15-hour day. And she kept saying she was running late. Would you want to have, say, pool #40, and have some bickering pool cleaners in your backyard at 10:00-11:00 at night?
And I got to thinking about the money. Mr. Downey's character was behind on payments, the numbers averaging out to $200 per month. Let's say there are only 44 customers, pools being cleaned once a day. So the pool cleaning company is grossing $105,600 per year. If there are 88 customers, pools being cleaned every other day, the company is grossing $211,200 per year. If pools are cleaned once a week, and the pool company works 5 days per week, the company is grossing over half a million a year.
I don't have a pool and have no idea how often pools are cleaned. But the point is, it was more interesting to sit and do the revenue calculations in my head than to watch the parade of actors acting quirky. Or badly acting.
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