As far as time portals go, a hot tub is probably as believable as a car so if you can just go with the fact that a hot tub can take four guys to 1986, you’ll probably really enjoy Hot Tub Time Machine, a brainless, but very funny comedy.
After their friend Lou (Rob Corddry, Warm Bodies) is hospitalized after an alleged suicide attempt, his childhood friends Adam (John Cusack) and henpecked Nick (Craig Robinson, This is the End) decide to take him back to the ski lodge where they had so many memorable moments as teenagers.
They decide to take Adam’s nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), along for the fun to show him how wild their life used to be, but instead of the hedonistic palace they remember, the lodge is a run-down shambles.
But somehow the hot tub becomes operational and with little else to do, they hop in and find themselves transported to an era of brick-size cell phones, an MTV that just played music videos and neon colors are all the rage. And worse, they’re exactly how they looked back in 1986.
To get back to 2010, they figure they have to do everything they did that same weekend. For Adam, that means breaking up with his sexy girlfriend (Lyndsy Fonseca). Lou has to clash with some ski patrol buddies and Nick has to sing at a bar, but the guys soon wonder how bad would it be if they changed the past some to potentially make their future a little brighter?
Corddry has always been good for a few laughs in supporting roles in films like What Happens in Vegas, but in Hot Tub he gets the opportunity to be relied on as a major contributor for the big laughs.
Robinson gets some great scenes as well while Cusack holds things down as the reliable straight man. Crispin Glover has a very fun cameo as a one-armed bellhop resulting in one of the film’s better running jokes.
Chevy Chase (Community) has an odd cameo as the hot tub repairman. It’s not a particularly necessary cameo as Chase isn’t the first name that would come to a lot of people when thinking about the 80s or time travel, unlike say a Michael J. Fox.
Comedies that make fun of a certain period of time tend to lose momentum midway through as there’s only so many ways to crack on the goofy hairstyles, the wacky attire and silly fads. Fortunately the script, penned by She’s Out of My League screenwriters Sean Anders and John Morris, joined by newcomer Josh Heald, goes beyond the easy jokes to delve into more meaningful issues such as the time-space continuum, changing the future and the true measure of friendship. Or not, but at least it’s funny.
Anders and Morris are proving to be a formidable comedy team, creating some very entertaining films in the past three years with this and 2008’s Sex Drive. I’m looking forward to their next collaboration.
With its 80s excess of nudity for the sake of nudity, sex scenes and rampant drug use, the film certainly earns its “R” rating and there’s very little to balance out the crassness, but at least it’s funny.
You might not fall out of your seat laughing, but the film is consistently enjoyable from start to the very clever and amusing finish and with its brisk 93 minutes, it’s worth taking a dip in this tub.
Rating: 7 out of 10