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Hot Tub Time Machine

A 2010 comedy movie directed by Steve Pink.

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Sporadic laughs. I had hoped for more.

  • Apr 14, 2010
Adam, Nick & Lou have been "sort of" friends since high school, in the early 80s. Now, decades later, they are distant from each other and have grown into essentially unhappy, poorly adjusted people. When Lou nearly dies in an accident, the three friends, plus Adam's nephew Jacob head to a ski lodge that was the site of many debauched weekend ski trips for the three older men. (Apparently, reliving past glory is someone's idea of a "pick me up" getaway) Much like the men themselves, the lodge is a hollow shell of its former self, run down and unappealing.

But due to some sketchy science involving an illegally imported energy drink spilling on a control panel, their hot tub turns into a time machine that sends them all back to the 80s. And naturally, they have a chance to relive moments they've always wanted a second chance with. Can they turn their lives around? Will they mess up the space/time continuum? Will raunchy, R-rated behavior ensue?

Well, considering the movie is named HOT TUB TIME MACHINE...I hope you can figure out the answers to those questions. You pretty much know exactly what to expect from this film going into it. The movie wants to be this year's THE HANGOVER. But while it has many genuine laughs, it falls short of that lofty goal.

John Cusack stars as Adam, a sad sack who has just left another relationship. He's just sort of slouching through life, and in many ways, even when he returns to his former self, he can't seem to shake the malaise very readily. He's more or less the party-pooper of the group. It's fun to see Cusack in an 80's comedy, since he starred in so many great ones (BETTER OFF DEAD being a personal favorite). I wish the actor Cusack had enjoyed himself a little bit more...he plays too much of the movie straight. That's a shame, because his co-stars stretch the limits of credibility in their over-the-top performances.

Craig Robinson (from THE OFFICE) is Nick. He's the married friend who has to struggle mightily with temptation from all the young girls throwing themselves at him. He's a former musician who recaptures his glory days by performing "Let's Get It Started In Here" by the Black-eyed Peas for his rapturous audience. (Funny scene!) Robinson is the kind of comic actor who gets by on a low key attitude most of the time...but this role actually has him stretch his usual persona just a little, and he does fine. I wouldn't call it a game changer for Robinson, but it won't hurt his career.

Rob Cordry is the perhaps suicidal Lou. He's crazy and unconcerned for his physical safety, so when he's presented with a chance to relive his crazy youth, he embraces that with insane fervor. Cordry is a master of being hugely offensive, particularly towards women (he stole his scenes in the forgettable WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS), and a co-starring role stretches the audience's ability to like him. He chews into his part with gusto, though. I'd like to see him in a more sympathetic leading role...there might actually be something there.

There are a few odd cameos, most memorably from Crispin Glover (an always welcome oddball). Chevy Chase makes a nearly pointless appearance in a couple of scenes. And Lizzy Caplan (CLOVERFIELD, MEAN GIRLS, TRUE BLOOD) shows up as someone's love interest. Her part is underwritten, but she's good enough to pull it off.

The movie is just wildly uneven and choppy. It has the 80's visual aesthetic of PORKY'S and tries to have the pacing and attitude of a Judd Apatow film...but in the end it isn't quite slapstick and raunchy enough to make us laugh all the way through, nor are the "tender" parts invested with any real feeling. There are many funny bits, and I certainly enjoyed myself...but the premise (and great title) led me to hope for something more transcendently silly. No such luck.

Probably good for a rental, particularly if you've got a few folks (adults) over for a few beers. But it's a near miss for me.

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October 20, 2010
Nice review! Your thoughts echo some of my own sentiments in the review I just wrote: http://lunch.com/t/5is7 Check it out if you ever have some free time. :)
October 20, 2010
Yeah. Pretty much how I felt about this movie. You put more thought in your review than the director did in the making of the film. Nice!
October 20, 2010
I agree, William!
More Hot Tub Time Machine (2010 mov... reviews
review by . October 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Hot Tub: The New DeLorean
I was roped into seeing this movie by my husband, and I wish that I could erase parts of it from memory. It wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, but at the time of viewing, I was quite annoyed with the silly premise, ridiculous theories on time travel, and emphasis on sex (with some topless scenes that some viewers might enjoy).      The story is nothing unique. A group of male friends finally admit that their lives suck and are meaningless thanks to the actions of …
review by . March 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     I try as hard as I can not to laugh or so much as enjoy what most would call "guy films". Yet, I have enjoyed past "guy films", such as "The Hangover", "The 40-Year Old Virgin", and now, "Hot Tub Time Machine". While my relationship with this film is about the same as my relationship with other successful guy films, I still enjoyed the thing to the core. "Hot Tub Time Machine" essentially exists to be a raunchy, crude, often times immature but never juvenile …
review by . April 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Get a filter, for me and the tub
Oh boy.      I have no one to blame but myself.  Outside of a cute title, this is a movie that telegraphs about 10 miles away, I saw it coming and saw it anyway.  Time to do a roll call to see if everything is in place:      Pop culture references?  Check      Self referential humor IE John Cusack yelling "I hate the 80s!"  Check.      Pointless cameos by 80's stars IE Crispin Glover …
review by . March 16, 2011
Hot Tub Time Machine... god, what a movie. I just finished watching it and I already have fond memories of it. Some of you may think that I am giving this a higher rating than it truly deserves, but I think it deserves an 80. I went into this movie fully expecting to hate it, but my expectations of hilarity were passed and then some. It takes an utterly ridiculous premise (and some definite parallels to Back to the Future) and makes it into a great modern day comedy, dare I even say a new comedy …
review by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Adam finds that his live-in girlfriend has left him and cleaned out his house.  Adam's nephew Jacob was home playing video games and impervious to all this going on (sounds like my own teenage son).  He gets a call to come to the emergency room of the hospital and meets his friend Nick, who runs a semi-veterinary pet grooming spa.  Their friend Lou was brought in in an apparent suicide attempt.  As Lou has no family or relatives, the two friends were the only ones that …
review by . August 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
At first glance, Hot Tub Time Machine (Unrated) [Blu-ray] seems like a mix between Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] and The Hangover (R-Rated Single-Disc Edition). It had the potential to be a really funny movie, particularly the speculation about when the bellboy loses his arm. Unfortunately, the constant cursing (especially f-bombs), unsubtle sex scenes, and simply disgusting moments really ruin the film. I don't mind some of this stuff, but too much …
Quick Tip by . April 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Lame comedy about 4 guys who end up in the mid 80's and trying to keep things straight so that they can preserve they're pathetic lives. At least the title was clever.
review by . May 11, 2010
A funny but crude blast from the past.
   Adam (John Cusack) is a man going nowhere fast. Upon his return home one day, Adam finds his girlfriend gone, his nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) in his basement addicted to playing online games that simulate real life, and his friend Lou (Rob Corddry) in the hospital. When Adam meets up with his friend Nick (Craig Robinson) at the hospital, Nick attempts to brighten up Lou by offering him a trip to their old ski resort to relive the fun of their youth. With Jacob tagging along, the three …
Quick Tip by . September 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I am not exactly sure how I feel about this fantasy-comedy. It does establish certain rules to its time travel mythos but the problem is, it never properly develops it onto its main premise. The comedy has its moments but isn't something different from what we've seen before. Not too bad, but definitely not good either. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Quick Tip by . August 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Been too long since John Cusack was in a comedy set in the 80s at a ski resort. . . ah, how it brought back memories of Better Off Dead.
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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Hot Tub Time Machine is a 2010 American comedy film directed by Steve Pink and produced by MGM/United Artists. It stars John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Lyndsy Fonseca, Lizzy Caplan, and Collette Wolfe. In addition to Cusack, the film also features stars from 1980s films such as Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover and William Zabka. The film was released on March 26, 2010.

Hot Tub Time Machinehits the bull's-eye: it's a rude, crude comedy with enough smarts and emotional sweetness to make it completely entertaining. Seeking to bring some youthful optimism back to their failed, miserable lives, three middle-aged guys--Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Lou (Rob Corddry)--go to a mountain resort where they spent some of their wildest days (reluctantly dragging along Adam's nephew, Jacob, played by newcomer Clark Duke). A drunken accident in the titular hot tub sends them swirling back to 1986, where each of them decides to risk changing the future (and possibly erasing Jacob from existence) by doing things just a little differently. A plot summary doesn't capture the movie's rambunctious, daffy spirit as much as… well, the ridiculous title: this is a movie calledHot Tub Time Machine! Any expectation you may have will be met and surpassed. John Cusack delivers another underplayed yet marvelously funny performance, his best sinceHigh Fidelity; Clark Duke, from the TV showGreek, proves a promising young comic talent. But the ...
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Director: Steve Pink
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: March 26, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
Runtime: 99 minutes
Studio: MGM
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