Brandon's Review: Hot Tub Time Machine is Totally Tubular

March 25, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub. Time. Machine. The title alone is enough to evoke a chuckle. It's seriously great. What's better is that the film that follows that distinctively '80s, bitchin' title sequence is able to evoke a whole lot more than a chuckle. This is a film to be seen with a group of friends who've hopefully seen their fair share of '80s movies, know their '80s fashion, and are familiar with spacial and temporal travel via jacuzzi wormholes. (That last one is less important. But relevant. And hilarious.)

Comedy is the toughest genre for me to review. Rather, I find it most difficult to recommend comedies to others if I don't know you well. It's much easier to be confident in one's recommendation of a drama or thriller; a well acted, emotional story, crisp writing, or exciting action are fairly universally recognizable. If something is exciting, it's generally exciting to just about everyone. Our recognition of excitement is biologically ingrained. Comedy, though, is everything but universally agreed upon. And a sense of humor is certainly not something everyone has.

So, with that in mind, the most substantial factor in any review of a comedy should be if it makes you laugh. Hot Tub Time Machine made me laugh. A lot. The film follows three estranged friends during all of their respective mid-life crises. That is, until they decide to recreate one of the best weekends of their life: a weekend in 1986 at a ski resort where they unknowingly experienced some of the most defining moments of their lives. But when their jacuzzi sends them through the time-space continuum back to 1986, they're given the unique choice of retaining their timelines just as they happened or changing their lives forever.

The threesome is comprised of Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry), and Nick (Craig Robinson). While all three play their parts well, their characters are not exactly the deepest. They're archetypes. And at a certain point, it's clear where they're all going to end up. But it's a testament to Cusack, Corddry, and Robinson that they're able to play the characters with such charm. Cusack is especially fantastic. (Which is refreshing after last seeing him in 2012.) And with the very funny supporting cast of Clark Duke (who is much more than a Jonah Hill knockoff), Lizzy Caplan, Crispin Glover, and Chevy Chase, the LPM -- laughs per minute -- is off the charts.

Overall, the film is ridiculous. But, if you've read the title, you already know that. And once you accept that, Hot Tub Time Machine is, above all, very funny. It's a cathartic depiction of wish fulfillment, too. Everything you've ever joked about regarding time travel over beers -- and possibly… other depressants -- is explored in this film. With awesome hilarity. With the knowledge of the future, the wisdom of age, but the bodies of their 1986 selves, Adam, Lou, and Nick basically play a game of Would You Rather while traversing the themes of Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder"… only while wasted and utterly selfish.

There's nothing like revisionist history, especially when it's you who gets to do the revising. One thing I wouldn't change? Seeing this film. Though I'm glad I don't remember the '80s. People sure did love neon.

Brandon's Rating: 8 out of 10

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  • crumb
    i'll be watching it for Clark Duke alone. kids a genius!
  • Xerxex
    I'm there, love the cast. Its great to see Cusack in this type of film.
  • DiR3cT
    The first trailer had me hooked, can't wait to see it - I hope it gets an Australian wide release.
  • JimD
    Saw the preview and loved it. Cant wait to see it.
  • Voice of Reason
    I saw the screener for this, it was THE best comedy I have seen in so long. a perfect 10, relentlessly funny, fantastic cast...DONT WATCH THE TRAILERS, JUST GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!
  • TheLOLrapist
    Really Funny movie. ranks up there with the hangover for me :-) go watch it!
  • I am looking forward to this. I hope its The Hangover funny. Also, the new Jessica Pare "bouncing" tv spot is a great inducement to see this as well:
  • karl
    saw an advance screening in Chicago. funny shit. was having 80's flashbacks for days. went to school with New Crime Productions - Cusack, D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink the director. Evanston Rules!
  • SeismicNinja
    I just got out of the movie and loved it. They had great one-liners and the movie itself was outstanding...the trailers dont do it justice. A must see movie, going to be a great addition to my collection.
  • Voice of Reason
    The Hangover has NOTHING against this movie. HTTM absolutely rules and will be recognized as the true re-birth of the R-rated Comedy andrunninrunnin andrunninrunnin andrunninrunnin......
  • Saw it. The Hangover is far better than this film. Loved Motley Lou though. Funny.
  • Sebastian
    Absolutely great hilarious movie from start to finish. Loved it. Anyone who grew up in the 80's will love this movie! Lou (Rob Corddry) steals the movie. Great chemistry between the main actors. The swearing was over the top funny. I will see it again.
  • Xerxex
    You know usually when you get out of a good movie and you're on cloud 9 you give the film 10/10, and tell everyone one its awesome! Were all guilty of it me included, now this movie will have a lot of fans and a ton of haters which is how it goes. I give it a solid 8/10 because I laughed my ass off and had a damn good time watching it! I wasn't apart of the 80's but I knew enough. The cast was great Cusack was great in this role he always does comedy well, Corddry was hilarious! Same for Duke and Robinson. Hot Tub Time Machine is just as good as The Hangover and definitely worth checking out
  • Daniel felts
    Hangover was really that funny. Original and all, but not the funniest movie. But this movie looks way better.
  • I will be seeing this movie solely based on the cast alone. I know that is a shitty way to do things but there are some funny mofos in there.
  • Did you know that DIORA BAIRD is in this film as well?:
  • When I first saw the trailer, I must admit it didn't look like something that I wanted to see. Maybe it had something to do with the title. Though, after it came out I kept hearing more and more great reviews on it - everyone seemed to really enjoy the film. When I kept hearing people compare it to "The Hangover," that's when I started really thinking about seeing the movie - I'm glad I did. It was really funny even though I still think "The Hangover" was a bit more funnier. But, overall it's very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Nice review! p.s. My "Hot Tub Time Machine" review, thanks!
  • Overall, to me, the film is ridiculous.




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