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Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Rating: 7/10

Much like “The Hangover,” here we’ve 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 fan—sure 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 weren’t 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 … you’ll 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 guys—Nick (Craig Robinson), Adam (John Cusack), and Lou (Rob Corddry), along with Adam’s 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 can’t mess with the past—and someone always messes with the past.

Don’t go into this story thinking you’re 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 isn’t the point—they had to get to the 80s somehow, and that goofy et-up adds to the whole 80s vibe anyway. Once they do, it’s 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. There’s a fair share of crude humor throughout, and it doesn’t 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 edge—as does the casting of Crispin Glover, because what’s 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


Better than “The Hangover” if you were an eighties kid, “Hot Tub Time Machine” may lack in making sense, but it’s funny, which is the job of a comedy.