"Hot Tub Time Machine" Movie Review (2010)

3/27/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Hot Tub Time Machine"

Directed by Steve Pink, Written by Josh Heald and Jarrad Paul, 100 minutes, Rated R.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Hot Tub Time Machine" is obnoxious. It's disgusting. And oh my, is it stupid. But boy, is it fun. Self-referential and gross-out comedy hasn't been better in years.

The film's plot--well, it doesn't really matter, but it's basically about three middle-aged friends--Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry), and Nick (Craig Robinson), as well as Adam's deadbeat but brainy nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke)--going to a ski resort the trio went to as wild teenagers and accidentally being sent back in time by a--you guessed it--hot tub time machine.

They get sent to a huge ski party in 1986, which turned out to be a major turning point in all of their lives, and wacky hijinks and countless time paradoxes ensue.

The film is basically a mash-up of '80s cliches, slapstick comedy and references to--more than anything--the early career of John Cusack, who also co-produced the film. Any fan of '80s-era Cusack is sure to get a kick out of how similar certain aspects of "Hot Tub" are to his work in that decade. The ski resort setting itself as well as the blowhard jock villain is surely one big reference to the film "Better Off Dead," which had multiple major sequences on a ski resort, and films like "One Crazy Summer." Even the absurd sense of humor in those early comedies is presented here. Plus, of course, the '80s setting and overall dilemmas with time paradoxes and settling past conflicts is a direct reference to the "Back to the Future" films, which lend "Hot Tub" most of its story structure.

The thing the film accomplishes best, I think, is how it manages to employ retro humor without going overboard and over-the-top. Once the film informs the viewer where and when we are, it doesn't use cheap references to continue the illusion.

As for the performances, almost all of them are top-notch. Cusack hasn't been this irreverently funny since his '80s days, and he seems to genuinely be having fun with the material. Craig Robinson is as hysterical as always, and Clark Duke works very well as the straight man of the group, but the real standout is definitely Corddry. He is absolutely outrageous--even moreso than he was in the second "Harold & Kumar" film or "The Daily Show"--and he definitely gets the most laughs, as well as providing the film with most of its demented but oddly heartwarming nature. Two more '80s icons, Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover, round out the cast with two excellent supporting performances.

The comedy can get a little bit excessive at times and there's a point where there have been so many vomit jokes that it feels as if they aren't even trying. But for the most part, this is a really goofy and fun piece of work, and Cusack hasn't been this good in years.

Grade: B

Below is the trailer for "Hot Tub Time Machine." What are your thoughts?

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  1. One Source Talent said...

    Wow, I was a little unsure when I saw the trailer. It looked funny, but I wondered if it would be to over the top or if all of the funny clips were shown in the trailer and would make it a bit boring. I definitely want to see this film now!

  2. RevitaPop said...

    I wish I could have been in this movie. Maybe given some energy to it.