“Hot Tub Time Machine” Movie Review


    Recurrent use of the “F” word and a new 80’s music track starting every scene just about sums up the low on laughs “Hot Tub Time Machine.”  After “2012”, I thought John Cusack could do no worse, but I was wrong.  Hot Tub Time Machine seemed to show promise from its trailers and clever marketing campaign, but in the end I found the film to be just another below average comedy.  Yet another “Hangover” wanna be, if you will.

     The story follows four down on their luck friends, three of which have a friendship dating back to high school.  After an apparent suicide attempt by their friend Lou (Rob Corddry), Adam (John Cusack) and Nick (Craig Robinson), along with Adam’s nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) decide to take a weekend ski vacation at a resort they frequented during high school.

     During the first night, the group decides to take advantage of the hot tub located outside their room and after a night of binge drinking, they find it is no longer the year 2010.  It is the year 1986!  And so begins the requisite 80’s cliches’ which ironically Cusack is famous for in his earlier years.  The group finds the resort is now occupied by women wearing florescent clothing and leg warmers, guys listening to cassette tape players, and the realization that Michael Jackson is still black. Ronald Reagan is live on one TV and “Alf” is on the other! I have to say, the filmmakers went crazy with the 80’s scenes.  Having grown up in that era, I was certainly entertained by the constant 80’s references.

     If only this film had a better script. The writers seem to heavily rely on crude humor, but it is just not executed properly. Chevy Chase appears throughout the film as a hot tub repair man, yet he has nothing important to say and doesn’t really produce a laugh from the audience.  What a waste.  Crispin Glover also pops up over and over again as a hotel bell man and there is a funny running joke throughout the film which involves him.  I just wish the dialogue would have been more sharp.  This movie really wants to be “The Hangover”, but it just doesn’t measure up.  Once we get past the initial 80’s scenes, all of which are shown in the trailer, the film just isn’t funny anymore.

     The director, Steve Pink, just ran out of material and the result is an over long film which is unable to showcase the considerable talents of its cast.  I suppose calling the ending completely implausible would be silly since the enter premise of the film is implausible as well.  I’ll just leave you with this.  If you decide to see “Hot Tub Time Machine” your best off having grown up in the 80’s so as to actually get the many references.  I wonder if the filmmakers realized during preproduction that they were making a film today’s generation would likely not get.  I guess that explains the paltry opening weekend box office.  GRADE: D+