Rating: R and Unrated
Directed by Steve Pink
“Get ready to kick some serious past with the wildly inappropriate unrated version of ‘Hot Tub Time Machine.’ The outrageous laughs bubble up when four friends share a crazy night of drinking in a ski resort hot tub, only to wake up with serious hangovers in 1986 – back when girls wore leg warmers, guys watched Red Dawn and Michael Jackson was black! Now, nice-guy Adam (John Cusack), party animal Lou (Rob Corddry), married man Nick (Craig Robinson) and mega-nerd Jacob (Clark Duke) must relive a wild night of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll and try to change their future – forever!”
“Hot Tub Time Machine” is rated R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language.
The film jumps into the time travel genre and has lots of fun with it. It doesn’t break new ground, but it has fun playing in familiar themes. For example, it makes fun of the silly music, fashion, and sayings of the ’80s. It utilizes the idea that if they change anything in the past, the future could be changed. It shows our heroes introducing new music from the ’90s to the ’80s. This has all been done before, but “Hot Tub Time Machine” does it in a fun way.
The lead cast of the film is quite strong. John Cusack as Adam brings a lot of credibility to the film. If he can sit back and have fun in a movie entitled “Hot Tub Time Machine,” it kind of tells the audience that it’s OK, too. There’s even a funny tip of the hat to “Better Off Dead” in the film. Craig Robinson is also fun as Nick. Fans of his from “The Office” will get a kick out of seeing him get a lot more screentime. This time he’s tortured about being in his younger self’s shoes, yet morally conflicted because he feels like he’s cheating on his wife (who happens to be 9 in the ’80s) while trying to exactly retrace the steps of his youth. Clark Duke is also funny as Jacob. He’s the oddball of the group and is the one that younger audiences will identify with as he’s subjected to the weirdness of the ’80s. But it’s really Rob Corddry as Lou who steals the show. He’s wild, crazy, and out of control. He generates most of the laughs, and cringes, of “Hot Tub Time Machine.” I also have to mention Crispin Glover as Phil. While it’s easy to make comparisons with “Back to the Future” with this movie, he holds his own here. There’s a funny running gag about him losing an arm and the audience is left wondering exactly when and how it will take place.
So I’ve been pretty positive about this movie, but gave it a 6 out of 10. What’s the problem? Well, “Hot Tub Time Machine” is fun, but I think the lack of breaking new ground makes it a little less entertaining than “The Hangover” or Judd Apatow’s better films. It also has some ‘serious moments’ which stall the pacing of the movie and the otherwise ridiculous feel. The resolution of the film also seems a little too quickly wrapped up and unsatisfying. But overall, it is entertaining and worth checking out if you’re up for an R-rated comedy.
For the DVD, they skimped on the bonus features. You get both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film, some deleted scenes, and a trailer. It’s a bit of a disappointment. I would have liked a commentary or ‘making of’ featurette.