Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

After one of their friends has a possible failed attempt of suicide, three buddies decide to take the weekend and go to their old stomping ground. The three guys, along with one of their nephews, head down to a ski resort that doesn’t seem to be quite as hip as it did back in 1986. Still miserable and disappointed, they find that their hot tub does a little more than heat things up. Somehow, thanks to a spilled energy drink, the four find themselves back in 1986. That means they’ll find a ton of Motley Crue, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. But must they do everything they did all those many years ago? A wild R rated comedy ensues.


Okay, here is the thing. When it comes to time machines, a hot tub might very well be the perfect choice for one. You get naked, jump in and pick a year to transport back to. So as I watched HOT TUB TIME MACHINE, I kept thinking, would I want to go back to 1986? And the answer is F*CK NO! Would I want to go to another party with a Big Gulp filled with about one ounce of Pepsi and the rest vodka? Or how about hanging out at Denny’s at one in the morning with a plate of french fries and a side of ranch dressing? Or how about the time that time I messed up my parent’s garage door, thanks to a make out session with an older girl after a dance? Some of it was fun back then, but much of it sucked. But what if you go back, knowing what you know now? And then maybe cross THE HANGOVER with BIG? Well, you do that and you’ve got a fun flick that harkens back to classics such as HOT DOG: THE MOVIE, but with better actors and a smarter script. Well, mostly smarter.

When a trio of old buddies are brought together by an apparent suicide attempt – yes it’s a comedy – they decide to take a weekend vacation to a place they used to go in their younger years. But somehow, thanks to a messed up energy drink, the hot tub transports the boys to 1986. Scritti Politti, Motley Crue, New Order and Poison were hot, and Crispin Glover had two arms. And while the buddies look the same to each other, everyone else sees them as the young punks they were. Lucky for them, one of the guys has a nephew that is a true child of the computer age. He quickly figures out the whole time vortex hot tub thing, and realizes that they must do everything they did exactly as it happened back then. But sometimes, things aren’t exactly what they seem. If it wasn’t for Chevy Chase as a mysterious repair man, who knows what the hell would happen.

As the three friends, John Cusack, Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry share a strange bond that actually works. Cusack is the unhappy but semi-successful one that can’t hold on to a relationship. Robinson dreams of a music career while digging crap out of a dog’s ass. And then there is Corddry who has nothing but misery. There are a few moments with Rob that are a little bit devastating. He is a sad fellow whose depression brings on the unlikely reunion. I liked each one quite a bit, but I will say that it was great to see Cusack doing a comedy like this again. He is still hilarious, and I’m happy to see him having a little fun. But much like Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover, it is Corddry who steals the show. Yet his performance stems from a much darker tone, even though he is so damn funny that you sometimes forget how messed up he is.

Now let’s move on to the nephew. Clark Duke is a surprisingly good straight man to the adults. He is by far the most level-headed of the group, but he still handles the funny stuff like a pro. Sure they play on the whole cliché of him being a computer nerd. How many of you out there who are into video games such as World of Warcraft are like this guy? But thankfully, his performance is just as solid as the older and more experienced crew. And these guys are all in a R-rated comedy with sex and even a little violence. How nice it is to see a movie with tons of nudity and a few gross out jokes treated with a little bit of smarts. I’m not saying that this is all that deep, but it is not nearly as blockheaded as it could’ve been. What we have here is a fun ride that will bring back memories for some, and bring laughs because of the ridiculous clothes and hair for others.

I was surprised by the charm that was heating up in this hot tub. Director Steve Pink keeps things moving and has the sense to keep it raunchy. And unlike a lot of comedies, this doesn’t overstay its welcome. Not too long, but long enough to add a couple of gross out comic moments, including one dude having to blow another dude because of a bet. This is a goofy, sometimes foolish, but generally funny flick that will please fans of The Hangover. Both films have four different personalities, but this one has a magical hot tub. But it also has Corddry’s ass. Oh well, you have to take a little good with the bad. And as a sidenote, just a quick personal thanks to everyone hiring Crispin Glover. I love that this guy is working so much, and he is great as a sometimes one-armed bellhop. Like I said, get naked, bring along the hotties, and hop on in!
My rating 7.5/10JimmyO

Review: Hot Tub Time Machine




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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.