HOT TUB TIME MACHINE (2010) (***)

27 06 2011
Check Out the Trailer
Check Out the Trailer

The absurdity of the title is just part of the fun of this very funny comedy. Time travel comedies are nothing new and the same can be said about raunchy laughers. But few raunchy time travel comedies have John Cusack in them. Who else would be better suited to a spoof of the 1980s?

Cusack plays Adam, who has just been dumped again. His friend Lou (Rob Corddry, THE DAILY SHOW) is one of those guys who parties like he is still in college, which, of course, makes him look pathetic. Nick (Craig Robinson, ZACK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO) works at a dog spa where he dreams of the days when he thought he was going to be a rock star. He also fears that his wife Courtney (Kellee Stewart, GUESS WHO) is cheating on him. When Lou passes out in his car in the garage and his friends think he was trying to commit suicide, Adam and Nick decide to take him on a vacation to their old winter escape. Along for the trip is Jacob (Clark Duke, KICK-ASS), Adam’s videogame-obsessed nephew who lives in his basement.

The ski lodge isn’t as nice as the guys remember. They try to have fun, but Adam, Nick and Jacob aren’t as willing to hire a prostitute as Lou is. The guys decide to hop in the hot tub and a freak accident involving energy drinks and tub wiring opens a portal and sends them back to 1986. The older guys are still themselves, but when they look in the mirror they look like they did back in the day.

Each of them gets a chance to relive their youth and do it right. Adam tries to figure out why he dumped his then girlfriend Jennie (Lyndsy Fonseca, KICK-ASS) and then he meets April (Lizzy Caplan, CLOVERFIELD), a cute music writer, who he actually has a lot in common with. But what happens when you fall for someone in the past? Nick tries to rekindle his music while trying so hard to be faithful to his wife who is just nine in the ’80s. Nick’s partying is far more acceptable, but he still runs afoul of the jocky ski instructor Blaine (Sebastian Stan, BLACK SWAN). Jacob has a hard time seeing his mother Kelly (Collette Wolfe, SEMI-PRO) in full out ’80s mode… and a slut.

The casting is perfect because each performer gives a different kind of comedy. Corddry is the funniest, because he is provided with the most outlandish role and sells it. His Lou makes a fool of himself at every turn, but Lou doesn’t think it’s funny, which of course makes it very funny for the audience. Cusack brings his droll sense of humor and Robinson his bewildered family man persona. Duke provides the fish out of water laughs as the kid who finds dating in the ’80s too much work without Facebook and Twitter.

Cusack produced the film, which was directed by Steve Pink, who wrote the wonderful Cusack films HIGH FIDELITY and GROSSE POINT BLANK. HTTM is not in the same league as those comedies, but it is consistently funny. Raunchy comedies are a staple now because they seem “edgy” and get easy laughs. The good ones actually have characters, which we care about. It’s that that makes this one enjoyable for those who do not simply laugh when someone drops the F-bomb. But don’t worry this has a lot of F-bombs if that’s your thing.

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