Hot Tub Time Machine

This weekend a few of us hit the movies to check out the film with the greatest movie title since Snakes on a Plane - Hot Tub Time Machine.

Love him or hate him, the recent reign of Judd Apatow has ushered in a new age of R-rated raunchy bro buddy comedies, and Hot Tub Time Machine is no exception. The premise is simple: three guys who were high school pals - John Cusack (Say Anything, Grosse Pointe Blank), Craig Robinson (The Office, Pineapple Express) and Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) reunite and take Cusack's nephew, played by Clark Duke, for a weekend trip back to a ski resort where they partied in the 1980s. Wacky hijinks ensue and, long story short, the hot tub transports them back to 1986 in which they have to decide how to re-live their weekend. Since Clark Duke wasn't born they have to be careful to do things right to make sure he will exist at the end of it all.

Crispin Glover appears in the film as a porter at the ski club and his scenes are very funny. It's nice to see George McFly doing big comedy again. Chevy Chase makes an appearance as the mysterious hot tub repair man who may have all the answers. He's in the middle of a lovely career resurgence and I didn't realize I'd missed ole Clark Griswald till he re-appeared.

Their portrayal of 1986 is dead on hilarious, from the costumes, to the hair, to the music (Poison is performing at the club) to the big prop cellphone. Clark Duke, a total Gen Y geek who spends most of his life in Second Life, has no idea what to do with it all.

The soundtrack is, like, totally bitchin', and I may have to pick it up off iTunes. Lots of hair metal that I surprisingly do not own. Craig Robinson's character is an aspiring musician so he appears on three covers on the album.

The director (who, by the way wrote the screenplays for both Gross Pointe Blank and High Fidelity) added a few really excellent homages to big 80s films. There's a fantastic visual homage to Sixteen Candles. Evil Johnny Cobra Kai from The Karate Kid has a role in the film (and in the end credits it's announced that the film is "introducing" him as an actor - ha!). There's a fight scene at the end and I caught a "Put him in a body bag!" from someone in the crowd.

I thought the film was a lot of fun and the whole theatre giggled loudly and often. It's always a pleasure to see John Cusack and he really centers the whole movie. He's kind of perfected the sad sack man-boy in a mid-life crisis and does it well. It was kind of hilarious to see him getting drunk and high and cutting loose a bit. Craig Robinson does the big softie well and I'm glad he's getting more notice these days - I've always loved him on The Office. I'm pretty sure they just wound up Rob Corddry and let him go - his manic energy and wisecracks seemed very off the cuff and he pretty much steals the show. I'd never seen Clark Duke before but he's a very funny and watchable guy. Going into the film I thought that the casting was kind of weird but it totally worked.

The whole affair was very fast and very loose - nobody took it seriously (they explain the time travel theory with a Terminator analogy) and as a result, it's a pretty fun flick. I have a feeling it might be funnier on a second watch because I'm pretty sure I missed a lot of subtle '80s references. So if you like comedies in the vein of The Hangover and The 40 Year Old Virgin with a dose of the 80s, check out Hot Tub Time Machine.

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