Rating: 3 out of 5
Boasting the greatest and most outlandishly on-the-nose title since Snakes on a Plane - Hot Tub Time Machine obviously makes no excuses for its flagrantly silly intentions. This retro-tinged comedy is lewd, loads of fun and still manages to make you feel warm, much like a hot tub.
The movie opens with the depressing middle-aged lives of former BFFs Adam (John Cusack), Lou (ex The Daily Show correspondent Rob Corrdry) and Nick (Craig Robinson). Adam’s girlfriend has just dumped him and repossessed nearly everything in his house, Nick has given up his musical aspirations to become a dog groomer and Lou has just attempted suicide with the assistance of a Mötley Crüe soundtrack.
Joining the pathetic threesome is Adam’s nerdy nephew Jacob (Clark Duke), a guy half their age but equally as sad. Jacob lives in Adam’s basement and busies himself playing Second Life all day, every day. Upon learning of Lou’s troubles, Adam, Nick and Jacob reluctantly try to cheer Lou up by relieving their debauched and carefree glory days of the 80s.
The estranged best buds embark on a ski-vacation only to get their wish fulfilled, very literally. While on a bender in a magical hot tub, the chemicals from an illegal Russian energy drink mixes with the tub’s circuitry and (insert whooshing sound) sends them back in time to Kodiac Valley's Winterfest '86, when Reagan was still president and Michael Jackson was still black.
This movie works because (not in spite) of its insanely ridiculous premise – the plotting is so illogical and irrelevant that you don’t really care and just ride along with the wave of Gen X nostalgia, alcohol, cocaine, sex and juvenile penis jokes. Hot Tub Time Machine is absurd but everyone’s in on the joke (Nick even incredulously says the movie’s title directly into the camera) so you laugh with them, not at them.
Mostly this movie does a fine job lampooning its subject matter with John Cusack in particular, adroitly parodying his own sensitive guy typecast back in the 80s. Corrdry once again shows a remarkable talent for pathological boorishness and physical comedy but the real highlight is Robinson’s impeccably timed deadpan sarcasm (undoubtedly honed on The Office).
Chevy Chase (rejuvenated from Community) and Crispin Glover make inspired appearances in two unbelievably funny running gag subplots which I shall not spoil.
Director Steve Pink reunites with leading man Cusack (previously paired on much drier comedies Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity) with sparkling results. Writers Sean Anders and John Morris also penned She’s Out Of My League so you know this kind of winning sophomoric humour is exactly their forte.
Filled with fantastically apt 80s pop culture references, self-aware stupidity, killer music and even a heart-warming lesson about friendship, Hot Tub Time Machine is so much fun that I’m going to proclaim it this year’s The Hangover.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.
Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses an outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.