Hot Tub Time Machine Review
By Rich Cline
For a film produced by and starring John Cusack, this is unusually corny. But there's enough knowing humour in the script and performances to keep us laughing, even when things get downright stupid.
After a bad breakup, Adam (Cusack) gathers his chucklehead pal Lou (Corddry) and sensibly married buddy Nick (Robinson), plus Adam's nerdy nephew Jacob (Duke), for a skiing holiday in a resort they knew 25 years ago. But after a dip in the hot tub, they find themselves in 1986, reliving a fateful weekend during which they try to resist changing history. Awash in a riot of off-primary coloured clothing, the three friends try to re-navigate old waters while Jacob attempts to make sure that he's conceived on schedule.
No, this isn't highbrow entertainment. The humour takes the lowest road possible, heading for every cheap gag, especially if it involves vomit or getting hit in the head. Not to mention a continual stream of rather vile homophobic gags that seem to be clumsily trying to undercut the plot's gay overtones. For such a silly film, this type of spiteful tone weakens what could otherwise have been breezy good fun.
Because despite the merely adept directing and editing, there's plenty of great stuff in here, most notably in Corrdry's manic performance as a guy who rushes headlong into all the wrong situations. Combined with the other strongly defined stereotypes, this film has a lot in common with The Hangover, as these guys stumble through a crazily improbable situation trying to get back to the status quo of their less-than satisfying lives.
Back in the future, Adam is miserable about his breakup and wonders what could have happened with Jennie (Fonseca), the girl he broke up with on this weekend in 1986. Nick is struggling with marital problems. Lou is virtually suicidal due to his dead-end life. And Jacob has never met his father. OK, yes, all of this is about to change, and amid a riot of 80s film references (there's Chevy Chase, there's Crispin Glover!), these guys learn a lesson about being loyal to your friends. Which isn't exactly rocket science.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 26th March 2010
Box Office Worldwide: $61.3M
Production compaines: United Artists, New Crime Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 126 Rotten: 73
Cast & Crew
Starring: John Cusack as Adam, Lizzy Caplan as April, Rob Corddry as Lou, Craig Robinson as Nick, Clark Duke as Jacob, Chevy Chase as The Repairman, Sebastian Stan as Blaine, Collette Wolfe as Kelly, Lyndsy Fonseca as Jennie, Crispin Glover as Phil, William Zabka as Rick, Jessica Paré as Tara