Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

If they gave an Oscar for Best Title, I think “Hot Tub Time Machine” would be an early contender. I mean, the movie doesn’t even need a trailer; the title tells you everything you need to know to decide whether or not to see it. This is pretty much a movie about people traveling through time in a hot tub.

It doesn’t do to focus too heavily on the plot, but the story is that Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Lou (Rob Corddry) are 40-something guys whose lives kind of suck. They head out on a ski trip to their favorite old resort, where “Nobody gets carded, and everybody gets laid,” dragging along Adam’s nephew Jacob (Clark Duke). There, the guys booze it up, party in the hot tub, and, you guessed it, travel back to the ‘80’s. The hung-over buddies don’t realize anything is amiss at first, but gradually the hairstyles, music, and day-glo clothing start to clue them in. When Nick asks someone, “What color is Michael Jackson?” and she responds “Black,” they know they are in trouble. This sets up the best line of the film, when they all stand around the magic hot tub and Jacob asks, “Do I really gotta be the asshole who says we got in this thing and went back in time?” Then there’s some plot stuff about how the three older guys have to go back and do everything the same way they did it the first time around or else it will destroy the future (which sucks anyway, for these guys), but there’s no need to get too invested in the details. Just enjoy the drinking, pissing, puking, bleeding and disappointingly stingy sex scenes.

This brings me to a disturbing modern movie trend, which is that supposedly raunchy movies have replaced bare breasts and hot sex scenes with stuff that is actually raunchy, like puking, diarrhea, and, even worse, male nudity. WTF?! I think the Joe Bob Briggs breast count for “Hot Tub Time Machine” is probably about 2 ½, at best. If this were an actual movie from 1980, there would have been a naked babe running through every other scene. I’m just sayin’; standards have dropped!

One thing the filmmakers did get right is the ‘80’s styles. A lot of movies set in the ‘80’s dress the girls like Madonna album covers, but “Hot Tub Time Machine” is a lot closer to the real thing. I also loved the blond, asshole-ski-patrol, ‘80’s jerk character, who was lifted straight out of John Cusack’s 1985 comedy “Better Off Dead.” Speaking of blond ‘80’s jerk characters, William Zabka, the original “Karate Kid” villain, makes a cameo. (See if you recognize him.) In another classy nod to the ‘80’s, Chevy Chase appears as a mysterious hot tub repairman.

“Hot Tub Time Machine” is definitely not the best comedy I’ve seen in the last few years. It isn’t quite as good as “The Hangover,” and it definitely can’t stand up to “The 40-year-old Virgin” or “Superbad.” Still, it’s a good time, and I can almost guarantee you will laugh. You’d better! If you actually go see a movie called “Hot Tub Time Machine” and don’t laugh, that’s just embarrassing!

3.5 stars out of 5

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