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Hot Tub Time Machine, 2010
Movie Review


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Hot Tub Time Machine  MOVIE POSTERHot Tub Time Machine, 2010
Movie Reviews

Directed by Steve Pink

Cast: John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Chevy Chase, Crispin Glover, Lizzy Caplan
Review by Joshua Starnes


SYNOPSIS:

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Four guy friends, all of them bored with their adult lives, travel back to their respective 80s heydays thanks to a time-bending hot tub.

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REVIEW:

It's the typical Omega male story. Adam (John Cusack) and his friends have never really lived up to what they wanted to be. They never became rock star astronauts. They sell insurance and work at pet spas and get divorced instead. Typically, faced with these monumental failures, they decide to return to the site of their greatest conquests, and before you know it Bob's your uncle and they've woken up back in the 1980s.

Let's face it: a film about a group of men who travel in time after spilling knock off Russian Red Bull into the controls of their hot tub needs to be either massivly good or massively bad. "Hot Tub Time Machine" is unfortunately middling.

The unlikely wedding of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" "Back to the Future" and a Judd Apatow comedy, "Hot Tub" wants to shock with its raunchiness, with the chances it is will take without shying away from, while at the same time being extremely safe. It's not surprising then that those to impulses cancel each other out often.

After realizing they're returned to the turning point night of their lives, they quickly realize they have to repeat all of their former mistakes all over again in order to make sure the future where they've paid for those mistakes stays intact. At least until the mysterious repairman (Chevy Chase) fixes their hot tub so they can get back to 2010.

The plot is stuck together with wire and gum but that's about what you'd expect from a film called "Hot Tub Time Machine." It's more interested in shocking you with the things people say and the situation's they get into.

It's actually moderately successful at that, especially whenever Nick (Craig Robinson) is around. Robinson is really the only member of the cast who is able to balance the dramatic reality of his situation, being the straight man, with ridiculous over the top situations like calling his 9-year-old future-wife to bitch her out for cheating on him in the future.

Unfortunately he's the only one able to maintain that balance and he's not around near enough. Instead the filmmakers would rather spend much more time with Rob Corddry's ridiculously over the top Lou.

It's not a surprise, really, but it's depressing all the same. These kinds of films always have astupidly unbelievable asshole who attract all the trouble in order to save the filmmakers the trouble of actually thinking about their set ups, and Lou is that asshole. On the one hand, a film called "Hot Tub Time Machine" isn't really concerned with reality. On the other, working from such an outlandish premise, only realistic characters will keep an audience grounded enough to actually care about what's going on. And Lou is nowhere near believable.

That said, many of the gags are good. Childish and stupid, yes, but also well thought out and developed. Many other jokes, however, are labored and go on forever; particulalry a running gag about a bellhop (Crispin Glover) destined to have his arm cut off.

I'm not sure which is more dissappointing, that it's not great or that it's not terrible. Either way it would have been more memorable than it was, and you have to go a long way to make a squirrel covered in vomit unmemorable. There are more than a few things to like in "Hot Tub Time Machine" and it is occasionally as mad as it makes itself out to be, but a lot of the time it plays things safe and that's unfortunate

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