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Hot Tub Time Machine

A 2010 comedy movie directed by Steve Pink.

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Hot Tub: The New DeLorean

  • Oct 20, 2010
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 Lou (Rob Corddry), known fondly as "Violator." As a desperate attempt to show that they still care about one another and their pitiful existence, the group of guys, composed of Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), and the aforementioned Lou go to their favorite mountain resort Kodiak Valley, a wild haunt they used to frequent back in the 80's. Unfortunately, they have to also drag along Jacob (Clark Duke) who is Adam's nephew. Begin male bonding...now!

Once at the lodge, they realize that just like their lives, their haven has lost all its glamor. It has fallen into disrepair. Now, they have to deal with a surly one-armed bellboy named Phil and a hot tub with a dead raccoon in it. As one can imagine from the title of the movie, the hot tub turns out to be a time machine that takes everyone back to 1986 to change their lives for the better. This is the answer to the prayers that the men refused to say because they're just too macho to have faith in anything outside of their own selfish needs. The rest of the movie is about each person having epiphanies about their lives before the entire film ends happily ever after. 

As I watched Hot Tub Time Machine, I thought of other time travel movies or television episodes, like Back to the Future meets The Hangover or an episode of Family Guy when Peter and Brian travel back to the 80's. Unfortunately, this film didn't compare. There was a lot of foul language, which seemed unnecessary, and an emphasis on their lives having no meaning unless they are getting some hot "ass." These points can be funny in a comedy, but an over reliance comes off as vulgar and desperate. 

I expected more from the cast and felt that the best performance in the film was by newcomer comedian Clark Duke, playing Adam's nephew Jacob. Craig Robinson's character was interesting because he was so in love with his wife that he didn't want to cheat on her. This charm wears off with some of his  later skits, like the joke about hyphenated last names and the scary phone call to a nine-year old girl. The funniest moments were the running gag about the one-armed bellboy named played by Crispin Glover, best known for his role as George McFly in the original Back to the Future, the running gag about "The Great White Buffalo," and the periodic appearance of the hot tub mechanic, played by Chevy Chase. I also enjoyed the scenes when Craig Robinson sings; I didn't realize that he had such a good voice.

The film picks up when they first realize that they are in the 80's, helped by the great music and cultural icons, like the Poison concert at the lodge. There is a good run of comedy about 20 minutes in when Nick (Craig Robinson) asks someone "What color is Michael Jackson?" When they respond "black" he runs out of the room screaming like a little girl as he knocks people over. For the next few minutes they attack the bellboy, scare him into thinking he's going to be raped, and nephew Jacob claims that he's "the asshole who said they got in that thing and traveled back in time." The comedy gets a little cheesy after Nick says "It must be some kind of hot tub time machine." The last fifteen minutes are another high point of the movie with a lot of the running gags coming to a neat and tidy conclusion.

My favorite part of the film was the opening intro and music. The beginning shows lots of photos of people in hot tubs, some that are cultural images, to the music of "Turn up the Radio" by Autograph. For those of us who are major 80's fans, myself included, there is plenty of music that will have you bopping your head and tapping your foot. Some well-known classics included "Home Sweet Home" and "Kickstart My Heart" by the Motley Crue, "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats, "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" by Cutting Crew, the two Poison songs "Talk Dirty to Me" and "Cry Tough," and "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order. Of course there are songs performed by Craig Robinson, my favorite being "Let's Get It Started." Overall, there were over 40 different tunes played in the film although only 16 are featured on the movie soundtrack. 

The camera angles and special affects are nothing to brag about, which is to be expected since this is a generic comedy. There are two moments when the hot tub is in use and there are some flashing lights, zoom-ins, and unusual angles. Unfortunately, these scenes come off as a cheesy attempt to save the producers some money. The best camera angles were at the end of the film when Craig Robinson's character is singing at the lodge. They juxtapose his voice and dancing, which is like a performance in a night club, with other activities happening to Lou (Rob Corddry). 

Overall, this film is really for men. There was not much I could relate to as a woman, but I did appreciate the happy ending, even if it was contrived and ridiculous. After all, everyone knows that a ridiculous amount of money will solve any mid-life crisis. Unfortunately, the scientific/fantasy aspect of the film never fully gets developed, which was the portion of the movie I was most looking forward too. Since it's passed over as an unimportant detail, the movie is more fantasy-comedy than sci-fi. It's a good rental for guy's night in or for fans of comedy that don't mind vulgarity and nudity.
Hot Tub: The New DeLorean Hot Tub: The New DeLorean

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October 21, 2010
Reading this and from the trailers I've seen this looks like "That 70's Show" the movie.
October 21, 2010
Nice comparison, John.
October 20, 2010
Very nice review. You're right about the cheesy SPX. In this day and age, a medium-budget Hollywood comedy should still be able to afford some decent effects. I was surprised that you enjoyed Chevy Chase. I've enjoyed his minor resurgence ("Community")...but I felt actively sorry for him having to do what he did in this film. He was just a joke ("Oh, look, it's Chevy Chase...wow, I didn't know he was still alive.")
October 20, 2010
LOL! I totally agree! I probably just enjoyed Chevy Chase more because he's Chevy Chase. His role was forgettable, lol, but it is nice to know he's alive and still being "comedic." There was a really good line he had when he first appeared about Jacob that foreshadows who his father is (Lou). He was like the wise and eccentric Father Time...on crack! ;)
October 21, 2010
Really? I didn't know that! What station does it play on? I'm going to have to tune in now to get my Chase fix. :)
October 21, 2010
Thanks for the info. I'm passing it on to J, so he can download it for us. :D
October 20, 2010
Great review Adarianna! I know you compared this film to Back to the Future and some others. But one thing to remember is that those films were meant to be serious with bits of comedy in it where this movie was a comedy first and an inane one at that. Probabaly a much better movie than this that might be more up your alley is Peggy Sue Got Married.
October 20, 2010
Very true and good point made; although the Family Guy episode was meant to be funny. ;) When Peter goes back in time with Brian and death to fix his first date with Lois in the 80's...now that was priceless *and* funny. This one just never got that funny.

Yeah, I need to see "Peggy Sue Got Married." I've heard good things. :)
October 21, 2010
Cage is a hit or miss actor for me. :)
October 21, 2010
Yeah, "National Treasure" he was good in. I also liked him in "Air Force One" even if it was a little cheesy, lol!
October 22, 2010
I also liked The Family Man.
October 22, 2010
Yeah, that was a cute film too! I saw it recently for the first time.
October 20, 2010
EXCELLENT review, wow I wish I could write them like this. Any way I hear you on this one I was a bit let down as well, but I will admit I thought it got better as it went. Never really got great but I started like it more as the film progressed, usually it is the other way around.
October 20, 2010
Thanks for reading my review, Alex, and for the compliments on the writing.Your reviews are written well and read read well too. :)

The points where I liked the film the most was about 15-20 minutes in, for about 10 minutes, and then the last 15 or 20 minutes. The rest was just to "eh" for my tastes. 

I do understand what you mean about liking it more as the film progressed; it's usually the opposite for me too.
October 20, 2010
Good review, Adri. Yes, I have seen this film and yes, I hated it, lol. It was too juvenile for me to enjoy very much. I watched this with my mom, believe it or not, and she seemed to have much more fun watching this film than I did. So even though it's a film for men, my mom and I are one example of the traditional gender roles being completely reversed, lol. But yeah, I wish they had elaborated more on the scifi aspect of the hot tub time machine. Even if they hadn't done that, I would've still enjoyed this movie more if the jokes were actually funny and somewhat creative. Unfortunately, the jokes were pretty stupid overall, so the comedy didn't make the movie any better. Yeah, this film wasn't my cup of tea. I don't think the film will be winning any golden globe awards anytime soon, lol.
October 20, 2010
LOL!! I can't believe you had seen it, Pard! I was so sure that you would have avoided this one. If you thought Grown-Ups was bad...I can't imagine how you saw this one. I can't believe your mom wanted to see it too! Hilarious! Yeah, you two reverse the perceived audience target; it also looked like Melissa enjoyed it too. So, there must be women out there that liked it.

Yeah, the jokes were just not creative. I really wish this had been more of a sci-fi comedy and less of a fantasy-comedy. 

Thank goodness they are not winning any awards for this one. >.>
October 20, 2010
Yeah, I think Scifi comedy would've been a better way to go than what they did here. My mom brought home the DVD of this movie and wanted to watch it with me, so it was her idea to see it, lol. I didn't like the previews I saw of this film and watching it make me dislike it even more, lol. This was far worse than grown-ups. Grown-ups comes off as a Shakespearean masterpiece when compared to this movie, lol!!! :-)
October 20, 2010
LOL!! I love that comparison!! So true. :)
October 20, 2010
I am kinda with you on this. I would rate this a 2 out of 5. I dunno, it felt very mediocre and it never did anything with its concept. Such a waste. I could just manage a QT since I was disappointed. excellent review!
October 20, 2010
Yeah, I was debating between a -1 and a 1. These are the times when I wish there was a "0" rating. In the end, I went with my gut. It wasn't my type of comedy. There was promise...just didn't pan out. I'm surprised I was able to write such a lengthy review myself, lol. One of these days I want to go through all my reviews and get some QTs going. :) Thanks for reading the review, William!
October 20, 2010
reading your reviews is like cake...many many layers of goodness :)
October 20, 2010
LOL! Yum yum! Everyone likes cake. :) Thanks for the compliment too!
More Hot Tub Time Machine (2010 mov... reviews
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 …
review by . April 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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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Adrianna Simone ()
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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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