Hot Tub Time Machine

hot tube poster

C

Everyone wishes they could go back in time and change something — get better grades, quit smoking earlier, say goodbye to your grandparents one last time. This is the basis for every time-travel movie ever made, even Hot Tub Time Machine. Don’t get too excited — in this one, the characters mostly want to listen to Motley Crue, get laid and ingest any drug that comes within sniffing distance.

After the accidental suicide attempt of Lou (Rob Corddry), three friends decide a trip to an old ski haunt is what they need to break out of their middle-age crisis. Adam (John Cusack), Lou, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Adam’s 20-year-old nephew (Clark Duke) embark on a trip that never had any chance of fun, that is unless, there could possibly be some sort of time-twisting, black-hole-creating hot tub waiting for them.

To our woeful friends’ chagrin, their ski-bunny filled winter paradise is now a decaying has-been ghost town. The party lodge of yesteryear replaced with a mouse-bitten turd, bell-hopped by the ever-creepy Crispin Glover.

One of the problems I had with HTTM is that the characters aren’t very likable. Lou is the most obnoxious “asshole” on the planet. His crude mannerisms are peppered throughout the film with the touch of a sledgehammer. Always yelling. Always annoying. Nick is another pestering character who is forever complaining about getting back to his unfaithful wife. Adam just wants to forget he’s even alive. Jacob, the 20-year-old nephew, would rather be at home jamming out virtual push-ups in Second Life than sitting around a table playing quarters with depressed middle-agers.

One drunken montage later, the titular hot tub whisks them away to 1986. Oakleys and neon colored clothing abounds. To tell you the truth, it pretty much looks like the crowd at a MGMT concert. Sprinkled in are a few obligatory cameos from some of your favorite 80s characters and some camera set-ups that pay homage to famous 80s films. I didn’t find myself saying, “Look at all that cool memorabilia,” or “Oh wow, we looked like such dorks.” No, it was more, “Can you guys just go home so this can end?”

Red Dawn plays a big part in the plot. Seriously, it does.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some laughs. Some. John Cusack eventually wears us down and we start to feel for his character a little. He’s just so depressed; you’d need to be made out of charcoal not to soften a little after the endless puppy dog looks and frowns. We meet Adam’s prescribed love interest (Lizzy Kaplan) halfway through the film, but their relationship is set up so half-heartedly — they trade sarcastic remarks at the bar and we’re led to believe that they’re long-lost soul mates — it’s hard to care what happens.

Essentially this is a movie about getting old, forgetting your friends and all the events that formed you into an adult. The movie doesn’t give those fragile themes more than a cursory glance and maybe it shouldn’t. The time traveling is just a plot device that allows the director to cram in references to 80s movies, blast Motley Crue and throw in some piss and throw-up gags. Go rent Peggy Sue Got Married and top the night off with The Wedding Singer and you’ll be better off.

Directed by Steve Pink
Starring: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Lizzy Kaplan

tags: Craig robinson, hot tub time machine, john cusack, lizzy kaplan, Rob Corddry, steve pink

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