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Hot Tub Time Machine

A 2010 comedy movie directed by Steve Pink.

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Consistently funny and somewhat genuine; "Hot Tub Time Machine" is crude but hilarious.

  • Mar 5, 2011
*** 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 comedy that, like all good comedies, throws in a little more by the end. It's not exactly a classic, but as a person who didn't expect to like it, I was pleasantly surprised. I think I'll start with what I liked about this film. The first thing that caught my eye was John Cusack. Oh, man; I love John Cusack. Admit it, you do too. It doesn't really matter if he was in stuff like "2012"; he's the guy from "High Fidelity", for crying out loud. And while that may not be a big deal to you, it is to me; because "High Fidelity" is probably one of the best goddamn films of the past decade. "Hot Tub Time Machine" isn't one of the actor's best films, but the show isn't entirely run by him to begin with. Here, Cusack has to work with co-stars Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke. There are some hilarious jokes that each individual actor is able to bring to the screen, and at the end of the day, "Hot Tub Time Machine" is just plain fun. The cast is endearingly likable in that raunchy, comedic sort of way. I did enjoy watching everyone at play, and this film has fun with its positive attributes. The only problem is that "Hot Tub Time Machine" often forgets that it has a story, and at times it even forgets that it's supposed to be telling it. I understand that the point of this film is not to have a great plot, but you could do much better (or much worse, as the case probably could have been). Plus, the ending feels a tad weak. The film gets less funny toward the end, but there's a certain touching male-bonding type thing that seems to take the hilarity's spot. I do like that; and I also like "Hot Tub Time Machine". 2010 was a pretty stale year for comedy, and this is one of the funniest movies of that year. "Hot Tub Time Machine" is pretty much consistently funny, which should never automatically make a comedy film a "classic comedy", but it should always make it worthwhile. And while some don't like raunchy comedy; neither do I. But I liked this movie. And that's precisely why I'm going to go ahead and recommend it.

What works well with this movie is the characters. Yes, this film has them while most comedies don't. It's not as if you care about the characters, but they have back-grounds as well as their own little ways to bringing humor into the picture. The film stars a cast of quirky character. Our central characters are four friends in particular; Adam, Jacob, Lou, and Nick. Adam is a depressed guy who has (like nearly all John Cusack-portrayed personas) just been left by his girlfriend. Lou is a depressed alcoholic who has perhaps just attempted to kill himself. Nick is an unsuccessful guy working at a doggy spa. And Jacob is Adam's nephew who lives in his basement and creates virtual lives for himself. Each character is kind of bored and kind of unhappy; so the boys make a trip up to a favorite ski lodge. Adam, Lou, and Nick have been there before; and they claim to have had "some of the best nights of their lives" there. But when they actually arrive, they're disappointed. Everything has changed. But there's a hot-tub in the back, and they decide to make the best of things. They talk the "guy talk", get intoxicated, and allow creepy people dressed as bears to enter their little "man-pool party". When they wake up in the morning, things sort of go back to normal. That is until they realize that somehow they've been transported back in time via the magical "Hot Tub Time Machine". So now they've got to do what just about any time-traveling trekker has to do in a film; they have to have a good time whilst making everything fall into place. It's an admittedly silly but awesome premise; and the filmmakers sort of make the best of it. Think of the film like "Back to the Future", except with an F-bomb every five seconds, a crude term around every corner, and a handful of intentional campiness. This may not be one of the best time-travel flicks around, but it doesn't want to be. The film wants to be funny, and that is what it is. The story is a bit rough; as I mentioned, the ending almost aims to disappoint in some way or another. But then there are those brief little human moments of tenderness that take away from this film's raunchiness and quite frankly, make it more touching than it probably needs to be. The best comedies are the ones which either excel intelligently in their hilarity or blend sweetness with a laugh-a-minute. This film takes the second thing and screws with it to miraculous excesses. I won't say that I'm proud to have liked the result. But I'm not afraid to admit that I enjoyed this film. It makes you feel sort of good to have watched a movie this bad-yet-not-bad. It's not a terribly raunchy film, but it's enough to turn people off. But some of the best comedy is the kind that kind of grosses you out; but as long as it's not "gross-out comedy", then I'm good. "Hot Tub Time Machine" is NOT gross-out comedy.

Ah, John Cusack. I love this guy. But don't we all? He's pretty darn good in this film; once again playing a depressed guy who has tough luck with girls, but alas enjoys some guy time with whatever friends he's got. He did this better in "High Fidelity", no doubt, but this is the kind of film that allows Cusack to joyously be the raunchy alternate persona that lies beneath all men's mature exterior. In short; he's fun to watch here. He redeems his mediocrity that he displayed so well (as far as mediocrity goes) in "2012", and that's good enough for me. Rob Corddry also had a sort of "charm" for me. He was probably my favorite character, to be quite honest. And then there's Craig Robinson as Nick. I know Robinson from "The Office" (but doesn't everyone?), and I definitely enjoyed him here. It's good to see that he's getting good attention for being such a funny man. Lastly, there's Clark Duke who frankly, is just the biggest on-screen nerd I've seen in a long, long time. Yet he's actually fun to watch. Yes, you heard right. But aren't all good movie nerds? Of course, Chevy Chase got a lot of credit for his several 2-second cameo appearances he makes in this film, but I assure you, he's not the biggest show-stealer around. Honestly, I thought Crispin Glover's cameos were funnier and came in larger surplus. This film has an endearing cast, and there's enough reason there to want to see the movie. It's pure delight.

Comedies just aren't that funny anymore. A lot of them feel the need to be either excessively gross or excessively gross. And then there are those comedies that don't care, don't do either, or do something else. "Hot Tub Time Machine" is raunchy and therefore gross; at least by definition. I don't find it gross, in fact, I find it quite entertaining. I don't enjoy comedies that exist to disgust; and this just isn't one of them. It has plenty of raunchy jokes, but instead of being excessive and crude, they're actually quite funny. I enjoyed this movie throughout; it was a heck of a time. It's not perfect, but it's a true comedy that knows what it is. The thing combines raunch with campy moments (which actually tend to steal the show). As I said, the thing sort of gets less funny as the film reaches its peak, but most of the time it's just plain hilarious. If being consistently funny doesn't make a comedy better-than-average, then I sure as hell don't understand people's standards. There are those who will like comedies such as "Little Fockers" and "Dinner for Schmucks" over this film, mostly because those films are both "safer". I say screw safe and go for what's truly funny; as long as you can do it right. This film is profane and crude but never misses its mark; it's kind of a smart but intellectually insulting little right. If you can switch off your brain and laugh for a second, then I suppose "Hot Tub Time Machine" is for you. All I know is that in a lot of ways, it was for me. And I haven't said that enough times when regarding comedy; at least now when speaking of a comedy released in 2010.

Overall, "Hot Tub Time Machine" has its flaws, but it's so darned hilarious that you kind of just let go after a while and let it take you for a ride. I like the 80's feel of the film; hell, most of it takes place in the 80's. I also admire that the film actually surprises rather than disappoints. I expected it to be a generic raunchy comedy, and was pleasantly surprised when the thing ended up being (mostly) hilarious with a pinch of sentimental salt. It gets the flavor of comedy right; and it kind of hit the spot. I was in the mood for something as funny as this; at least when I watched it. It's not a comedy for everyone, but please know that it's not all about the vulgarity. It's definitely crude, but never was it disgusting enough for me to feel particularly guilty about watching it. And even if it's somewhat immature, don't be ashamed; you have enjoyed a GOOD movie. Maybe not a great one, but good comedies don't exactly come around every weekend. I've seen many "guy flicks", and I've hated most of them. But there's something about comedies such as "Hot Tub Time Machine" that I find endearingly crude and never over-the-top. The cast of this film drew me in while the consistent laughs kept me hooked. I really did enjoy the film. As I've said many times before, this is not a classic. But who the hell cares when it's so fun? I mean, honestly; it's not really worth it to criticize this movie. It does what it wants to do so well in fact that it's one of 2010's finest, or at least finer, comedies. I liked the acting and I liked the feel of the movie. Do I have any further complaints? No, I think I'm good. All I can really say after that is; I recommend this film. But I'm sure you established that long ago.

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March 11, 2011
I liked this one as well, not as good as I thought but good.
March 05, 2011
Great review, Ryan, this was...not sure. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly that great for me. But perhaps I should've gotten more into it, and ignored the time travel mumbo-jumbo.
March 05, 2011
Great write-up, I really liked this film as well and you wouldn't have thought I would have. I do love John Cusack and High Fidelity is one of my favorite films, too. I agree that he wasn't the only shining star in this raunchy comedy- every actor brought great comedy to the movie.
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 . 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.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … 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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