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Starring: John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke
Writers: Josh Heald/Sean Anders/John Morris
Director: Steve Pink
Company: MGM Studios
I have been a big proponent of Hot Tub Time Machine since the day the film was first announced. I mean seriously...how insanely awesome is that title? Now, this could have gone the way of Snakes on a Plane where the title is entertaining but the movie itself sucks (even when they tack in a Samuel L. Jackson scene that does not fit into it whatsoever), but I am here to say that Hot Tub Time Machine lives up to its name and premise, becoming the funniest comedy of the year...so far at least.

The film is about three friends who have grown apart since their teenage years. Adam (John Cusack) is an egomaniac whose wife is leaving him. Nick (Craig Robinson) abandoned his dreams of being a musician for a crappy job and a wife who cheats on him. Lou (Rob Corddry) acts like he has not aged and still parties it up solo, becoming a divorced and bitter alcoholic. After Lou lands himself in the hospital, Adam and Nick decide to brighten his spirits by bringing him to Kodiak Valley, a ski resort where the three lived out the greatest moments of their lives. They bring along Adam's nephew Jacob (Clark Duke), a socially awkward nerd who prefers the internet over reality. Kodiak Valley isn't what it used to be, becoming a ghost town and a shell of its former self...but the hot tub still works, thanks to the work of a mysterious repair man (Chevy Chase). A lot of drinking occurs and when the four wake up from their drunken stupor in the hot tub, they have been transported back in time to 1986 over the weekend of "Winterfest", the day the three men blame for the troubles in their lives. Inhabiting the bodies of their youthful selves, they originally set out to make sure they repeat what happened move for move and word for word, but soon enough they begin to venture off and decide that they aren't here to repeat history...they are here to change it, while Jacob tries to make sure his birth still occurs.

The premise is completely flimsy, and the usual time travel plot holes exist. However, Hot Tub Time Machine from start to end is absolutely freaking hilarious. It's filled with 80's homages and gross out humor, and the four main characters have great chemistry with each other, playing off one another really well. Everyone gets their jokes in, and Corddry finally finds a vehicle where he isn't the annoying one who should've been cut out (anyone who saw Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay will understand what I mean). The movie is centered around his character more than you would think and he provides the bulk of the humor in the film. His character of Lou had the potential to be annoying, but he manages to make it work and not only will make you laugh, but also make you sympathize with him. I mean, what person doesn't regret their past?

Cusack does his usual schtick and while he is good, he is definitely outmatched comedically with the rest of the cast. Craig Robinson is just a natural and even the most normal lines are delivered in a way that make them funny. He will never have a future in dramas, he's just too awesome. I've also been a big fan of Clark Duke since I saw Sex Drive (which was written by the same people as this movie) and he gets to hold his own with the veterans, proving more and more that his future is bright. Chevy Chase is not in it nearly as much as you would think, but he gets a couple of good moments and gets to play the ominous repair man who never gives a straight answer and just makes metaphors. My favorite minor character is the character of Phil, played by the criminally underrated Crispin Glover. In the present time, he is a bitter bellhop who lost his arm. In 1986, he is peppy and happy and has both of them. There is a subplot around when he was going to lose it, and his moments are absolutely great. He scales back his insanity and gets to deliver some great moments in a movie full of them.

Hot Tub Time Machine features many homages to films like Back to the Future and Sixteen Candles, and is heavy on the 80's nostalgia, but it isn't overbearing. Outside of the establishing scene which sets the stage, there are just little moments that remind you of the time period you're in and they don't beat you over the head with it. The movie allows the atmosphere to work without explaining it.

The plot itself is completely ridiculous, but it's perfectly forgivable due to the actors and the jokes. Hot Tub Time Machine is more of a guy humor, with gross out jokes (Corddry has the best one that involves hand soap and that's all I will say) and some clever jokes about the 80's. The characters are all likable and you get sucked into the journey. For a comedy, it fills every aspect you would expect, but it is also very well made, very clever, and worth a definite watch. Considering the kinds of crappy "comedies" that have come out in 2010 (and the ones that are coming the rest of the year), Hot Tub Time Machine could possibly be the only one that actually is as funny as the trailers make it out to be.

Final Verdict:
A

7/30/2012 08:32:00 pm

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1/25/2018 02:14:43 am


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