Much like The Hangover, here weve got four guys on an adventure that involves drinking, sex, debauchery, and hi-jinks. For some reason, everyone loved The Hangover, though, truth be told, I was never a big fansure it was funny sometimes, but I never understood the big swell of adulation for what amounted to a pretty routine comedy with some characters who just werent all that likeable doing a bunch of kind of gross things. What makes Hot Tub Time Machine better than all that is one, the guys are relatable, and two, if you knew the 80s, well youll see.
In a twist on the buddy comedy that usually consists of a seemingly happy event bringing friends together, here we have men gathering to support their friend who seems to have tried to commit suicide. The three guysNick (Craig Robinson), Adam (John Cusack), and Lou (Rob Corddry), along with Adams nephew Jacob (Clark Duke)travel back to the ski resort of their younger years to recapture that old magic, only to find the place has become a run-down mess. They still hop in the hot tub, though, which inexplicably transports them back to their 80s heyday. That would all be well and good, but in order to make it back to the present, they cant mess with the pastand someone always messes with the past.
Dont go into this story thinking youre going to get some sort of detailed description of time travel, or even a bit of realism in that regard (if there is such a thing as realism in time travel movies). The travel isnt the pointthey had to get to the 80s somehow, and that goofy et-up adds to the whole 80s vibe anyway. Once they do, its all a hoot, especially if you were in on the days of neon, Poison, MTV playing music videos, and a world without e-mail. Plus, the cast pulls it all off, and though Corddry gets most of the best parts, Robinson and Cusack hold their own (Cusack has the 80s cred anyway, and even harkens back to his look in Sixteen Candles for his young self). Duke is the funniest, though, as the poor 20-something nerd thrown into the Me decade with no Internet, forced to see his mother as a drunken skank. Theres a fair share of crude humor throughout, and it doesnt always work, sometimes feeling like someone just wanted to throw in some puking or penises for shock value. Overall, though, even with its incredulous premise, Hot Tub Time Machine has a heart most films of this genre lack, which gives it an edgeas does the casting of Crispin Glover, because whats an homage to 80s time travel without McFly?
It's Got: Totally awesome cast, Rad use of music, Neon
It Needs: Less gross-out humor, More Craig Robinson, Some awesome extras when the DVD comes out
Alternatives:The Hangover, Detroit Rock City, Pineapple Express
Better than The Hangover if you were an eighties kid, Hot Tub Time Machine may lack in making sense, but its funny, which is the job of a comedy.