Hot Tub Time Machine is exactly what you'd expect it to be.
It's not like people are standing at the movie line saying, "Well, Professor Johnstone, should we see The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band) or Hot Tub Time Machine?" You know what you're getting into with this movie - you see the words "Hot Tub" and you either imagine 1) a porno, or 2) a funny, silly, and vapid flick that's two hours of pure entertainment. And that's Hot Tub Time Machine (the second one, not the porno - although there is a lot of dick talk in HTTM).
If you haven't already worked out the premise from the previews, here is what happens: John Cusack, Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry are all unhappy 40-somethings. Cusack's girlfriend/wife has just moved out, leaving him alone with his geeky-basement-dwelling nephew, played by Clark Duke. Craig Robinson is an unrealized musician with a cheating wife and an excrement-filled job at a dog groomer. Rob Corddry is the worst off of the bunch - an alcoholic and an asshole, he decides to end it all with a bottle of Jack and an exhaust-filled garage. Except that he doesn't succeed, and so his doctor calls on his semi-friends to keep an eye on him for the weekend to make sure that he doesn't, you know, kill himself again. And so all four adventure to the now-decrepit-but-once-rockin' ski resort that was home to Winterfest '86, get into a glowing hot tub, and go back in time. Hilarity ensues.
Here's what I liked:
- Rob Corrdry. He way overplays the jerkwad card, which leads to some uncomfortably funny and rude jokes that really make the movie.
- Craig Robinson. The four guys learn from Chevy Chase (the all-knowledgeable hot tub repair man) that they need to do things exactly as they did in 1986 in order to go back to 2010. This means that Craig Robinson needs to get it on with a busty girl, even though he doesn't want to cheat on his wife. The scene where she's riding him and he's crying is one of the funniest in the film.
- All of the supporting characters were rad-tastic. Casting Crispin Glover in a time travel story about the 1980s is cute all on its own, but his sweet and naive bellhop was one of the better roles in the movie. Collette Wolfe plays Cusack's slutty sister, with such gems as (after sex that ultimately produces Clark Duke), "I feel pregnant." Plus, Charlie McDermott is in it, and Kyle and I love The Middle.
Here's what I didn't like (and there's only one thing):
- John Cusask is obviously supposed to be in the lead role, and his is the only character that could have been lifted out and the movie would have rolled along just as nicely. He doesn't have any memorably funny lines, he goes on this odd drug binge and immediately sobers up enough to have a deep thought with Corddry at the end, and he turns down sex from his super-horny teenage "Great White Buffalo" girlfriend. He either needed better lines or he should have taken the role of the straight man.
When we walked out of the movie, there was a 20-year old kid and his girlfriend in front of us. She asked what he thought of the film. His response? "I didn't get it." I'm not sure what there was to get (seriously, I'm concerned about today's youth), but this movie might only appeal to those of us who actually experienced the 80s, and not just learned about it from VH1. So, if you fit into that category, dust off your Jams and go see Hot Tub Time Machine.