Film Review + Trailer: Hot Tub Time MachineBy Kim Francis
May 12, 2010
Stars John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Sebastian Stan
You’ll get no prizes for guessing the premise of Hot Tub Time Machine.
It also promises a dumbed-down male-focussed farce for those willing to leave their brains firmly at the cinema’s door.
You have to give credit where its due for selling audiences a film that does exactly what it says on the tin. Even if what it says to you is that it’s total tripe.
Fortunately, it isn’t, thanks largely to performances from its cast. John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke are the four main dudes bonding and sparring over their efforts to get back to the future with their lives intact.
Upon discovery of a hot tub-shaped portal to another era, a mid-life crisis trip down memory lane goes spectacularly awry.
Childhood friends Adam (Cusack), Lou (Corddry) and Nick (Robinson) head off with Adam’s computer nerd nephew Jacob (Duke) in tow to a run-down ski resort – at which the middle-aged trio spent a pivotal weekend back in 1986 – in the hope of bringing some clarity to their lives.
Little do they know they’re about to get the chance to re-live some key moments from their youth and set in motion some life-changing events.
Hot Tub Time Machine has the potential to be a forced, painfully unfunny Farrelly Brothers-lite gross-out farce with the cringe-making ability of the similarly-themed Wild Hogs (which is name checked in the film).
A gifted and likeable ensemble of acting talent ensures that most of the cracks in this Superbad-style comedy – that also has a debt to pay to The Hangover and The Wedding Singer – are firmly papered over.
Steve Pink’s dumbed-down funny flick is mildly amusing in places, uproariously funny in others and totally titter-free in the remaining parts.
See more film trailers on getreading.co.uk
Replete with homage-like stolen bits from classic 80s’ flick Back to the Future and roles for 80s’ icons Chevy Chase, George McFly himself Crispin Glover and of course, John Cusack, Hot Tub Time Machine clearly has a lot of affection for the decade it returns to and relies on sending it up for a lot of the film’s laughs.
However, it pays far too much attention to references and jokes that we’ve seen countless times over. Brick mobile phones and fluorescent clothing just aren’t funny any more. Particularly since nowadays everybody loves retro. It would have been far better if director Steve Pink had made the effort to be a little more imaginative – obscure even – with the 1980s’ nostalgia.
Hot Tub Time Machine may not run on a flux capacitor and may never really hit speeds of 88mph but it does spin at a middling 800 revolutions per minute.