Hot Tub Time Machine.
When a movie's title is Hot Tub Time Machine, do you need to know anything else? You're not going in to this movie as a viewer thinking you're about to see Citizen Kane or The Godfather. What completely caught me by surprise was that even with its fair share of stupid, gross-out humor, 'Time Machine' is a genuinely funny movie. It feels like a throwback to a lot of the raunchy comedies that are so often associated with the 1980s with its mix of John Hughes comedy and Back to the Future like situations. A classic it is not, but certain scenes made me laugh until I cried. Any movie that does that is okay in my book.
After drifting apart over the years, three high school friends, Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Lou (Rob Corddry) reunite for one huge weekend fling. With Adam's nerdy nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) along for the adventure, they head to Kodiak Valley, a ski resort they visited often as high schoolers with generally raucous results. Partying in their suite's hot tub, they all pass out, waking up the next morning to find they've gone back in time to 1986 on a weekend they'd visited in the past. The four friends must decide what to do, not miss with history and try to get back to 2010 or have some fun with this predicament. At first, they decide to do exactly what they did the same weekend back in 1986, but what's the fun in that? Enjoy yourselves!
Subtle humor this is not, but if you've made it this far into a review of a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine I guess you know that by now. Even with the stupid humor, the laughs come from some great nods to classic 80s movies, and of course the crew's general confusion as to how exactly they've traveled back in time to 1986. If that wasn't enough, I'll recommend this movie for one line and one line only. Everything else is just gravy because it is one of the most flawlessly delivered lines I've ever seen. When they figure out what's going on, Robinson states in a deadpan voice "It must be a...hot tub time machine" right as he looks up at the audience. Watch it HERE. A movie that knows how ridiculous it is and embraces it always gets points from me.
When I first saw the trailer, everything looked normal for a raunchy R-rated comedy with one major exception. John Cusack? Really? You've got no other offers on the table. An iconic actor from the 1980s, he somehow seems out of place here and just doesn't provide many laughs. He looks to be sleepwalking through the part. Thankfully, Robinson (one of the best comedic actors around right now) and Corddry are there to pick up the slack. Robinson's Nick is dealing with his long-time girlfriend cheating on him with some hilarious results while Corddry is the self-proclaimed asshole of the group because every group of friends has one. It's their delivery, their physicality, everything works for these two. Duke's Jacob generally plays straight man but gets some great laughs anyways with his subtle deliveries of some great lines. Check out IMDB's memorable quotes for just a sampling.
Now it is a time travel movie so you've got those issues that any movie that's ever dealt with time travel...yes, even in a comedy. By going back in time, can you change the future like Marty McFly? Will one little thing epically change the course of time? Of course, there's the Back to the Future references, an excellent, hilarious analysis of the first Terminator movie and how it applies, and a running gag with a bellhop (Crispin Glover in a perfect supporting part) who we know loses his right arm, but not how. It's only a matter of time before it happens, and when it is revealed, it doesn't disappoint. On top of it all, there's Chevy Chase as the all-knowing janitor who knows exactly what's going on but refuses to let anyone in on it. He's in the movie maybe 8 minutes total, and he steals every scene he's in.
I don't know what else to say. More than pleasantly surprised with this movie that I assumed would be one of the worst I'd ever seen. Sure, there's some glitches, and not all the jokes work but a majority of them do. Entertaining, hilarious, and highly quotable. Highly recommended.
Hot Tub Time Machine <---trailer (2010): ***/****