Hot Tub Time Machine Review

I was skeptical about this film at first, hence the lateness in writing a review, but I was worried all the 80′s movie references would go way over my head, but I’m happy that a friend talked me into it. Hot Tub Time Machine is actually a crass, beer-fueled bromance more akin to Superbad than Sixteen Candles. Which is good, because it means you don’t have to be born before 1970 to get the jokes, though there are a lot of references to films from that decade (the 80′s, that is). I caught a few myself, but only because I’ve seen enough Family Guy. It is often the case that with age you start understanding more jokes from shows like that orThe Simpsons – which means you might find yourself laughing while watching The Shining. I digress. Having at least basic knowledge, or someone around you who does will help you recognize some of the tributes and actors from that era as well. The story surrounds four guys whose lives have hit the wall: Adam (John Cusack) has gone through another bad break up; his nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) lives in his basement and is doing hard time in his second life as well; Lou (Rob Corddry) has a drinking, and a drug, and a hooker problem; while Nick (Craig Robinson) has a crap job and unfaithful wife. After a boozed up Lou almost kills himself in a Mötley Crüe inspired drum driving incident in his own garage, the crew decides to relive the glory days at a ski resort town they visited in their younger years, but the town itself has seen better days. Nevertheless they get thoroughly shitfaced in a hot tub and wake up in 1986. Was that a stretch? Who cares, you watched Face/Off didn’t you? Besides, there is a comical technological explataion, but really all Craig Robinson needs to do is state the obvious and raise one eyebrow and we’re passed it. The lads at first have a hard time coming to grips with the situation and some who ascribe to the buttferfly effect insist on repeating everything exactly as it happened whereas other are determined to have things turn out differently. Jacob, who wasn’t (or won’t be) born until 9 months after, is a firm believer in the former theory and wants to make sure he is conceived, which turns his him into a huge killjoy, for both the other characters and the audience. You know things are going to be different this time around so his begging and pleading as he tries to reign in the other three gets a little annoying. Nevertheless the occassional breather is required to recover from some of the big laughs unleashed in this film, it’s not all toilet humour though either, there are a few running gags and well planned jokes. The movie is very well cast, all the actors have a distinct style and play well off of one another, John Cusack is more passive and reserved, Craig Robinson plays the classic cool and Rob Corddry from The Daily Show plays the dirty sleezebag. Corddry was probably the most likeable in this film, and he features in what is possibly the best closing credits of all time; the film is a great breakout for him, but he is turned up to eleven for almost the entire movie, which is alright but he would have been just as a funny letting out fewer fuck’s and shit’s. I don’t want to give the wrong impression, this movie is hilarious and you’ll enjoy it. The story is one that people can relate to, and the premise is almost a sad one because for friends that have drifted apart over the years to the point where they can’t stand one another, there is no hot tub to send them back in time (apparently you can only go forward).

A small cheat sheet for 80′s illiterate viewers like me, here are the other actors of note who featured in this movie: Crispin Glover played George McFly in the Back to the Future series; Chevy Chase featured in a lot of 80′s movies (Caddy Shack is a must see); and William Zabka from The Karate Kid. Those films and the others homaged are probably worth watching, who knows, you might finally get some odd Simpsons reference. If I find a list of all the film references feature I will post it here, feel free to help.

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1 Comment

  1. Jimbo

     /  July 6, 2010

    I did watch Face/Off, and loved it. lol I’ll check this out for sure!


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