Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Adam (John Cusack) is a bit of a self-centered controlling jerk and his friend Nick (Craig Robinson) is a ball of crushed dream brow beaten maleness who has hyphenated his last name and taken his wife’s name as his sir name. Who would actually do that, we don’t know, but we are rolling with that. The third member of this 80’s triumvirate is Lou (Rob Coddry) who is an alcoholic failure who may or may not have tried to kill himself in his garage, an event which has brought the friends back together, as an intervention of sorts, to try to give Lou something to live for despite the fact he is an insufferable asshole. This leads our heroes, and Adam’s young nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) to the place of their greatest triumph, some resort town whose name I can’t remember, and this movie ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ is about to begin its profane, tasteless and completely offensive journey into the depths of comedy. Here’s the thing… I happen to enjoy profane, tasteless and offensive comedic journeys, at least when it is done right, and I enjoyed this one so much that it made me uncomfortable and had me wishing I had more class and was beyond this kind of thing. Oh well.

So after a freak accident in a hot tub which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, our heroes find themselves back in 1986. Somehow they have supplanted their real selves, look just like they did back in ’86 to everybody around them while they see themselves as they actually are in 2010. Jacob however didn’t exist yet in 1986 so they must be very, very careful not to mess things up so butterfly effectness and stuff won’t happen. Jacob being a detached geek of sorts has done the simple math and has deduced that he will soon be conceived, not to mention that he has run into his mother, Adam’s sister (Collette Wolfe), who is a bit of a drug abusing whore. But we do mean that in the nicest way possible.

Even though the original plan was to make sure nothing changes, this probably isn’t going to happen and the butterfly effect will be in full effect as these cats are stomping

on butterfly’s like it’s nobody’s business. You see, to a man, they all have crap lives and considering the opportunity to change these crap lives is so ripe for the picking some of our heroes opt to take advantage of this. There is a mystical repair man on site played by 1980’s stalwart Chevy Chase who is advising these guys not to this, and Jacob for his part is doing his best to keep these guys from mucking up the future but his efforts are looking futile. The issue, however, is that it appears that no matter what our heroes do, everything seems to progress just as it should. Unless, of course, the moment should arrive when the script requires it to be different. This movie doesn’t give flying fig about anything having anything to do with consistency within its own nonsense and thus it is the saving grace of ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ it is so damn funny from practically beginning to end that none of it matters.

So the theater I saw this movie at had about four total people in the theater and while I thought this movie was really, really funny there was an old guy with his wife near the front of theater who I thought I was going to have to resuscitate he was laughing so hard. There was the rare occasion during this movie where it wasn’t all that funny but this cat was laughing at that too. What I thought was amusing about this old dude is that unlike myself he doesn’t have the same direct point of reference that I have for this movie considering I was nineteen in 1986, the same age that these guys were playing in this movie, but yet the complete tastelessness and crassness that was ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ managed to transcend this and reach out and touch this old dude in his happy place. Congrats ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ in your ability to pull this off.

As far as the movie itself goes there’s really not a heckuva lot say about it outside of the fact that it’s almost perfectly funny. John Cusack does that John Cusack thing he has mastered of the course of twenty plus years of acting, probably just updating the character he played in ‘Better off Dead’, same for Craig Robinson who was also very funny but both Cusack and Robinson and even young Clark Duke were basically in servitude to Rob Coddry who completely took this movie over as his personal playground and ran with it and didn’t stop running with it until well after the credits rolled. I’m betting wherever Rob Coddry is right now he is still in character. While on the surface this is a fairly typical movie in story, the way its setup, the way it’s laid out and the way that it eventually ends all sunny and stuff, but the characters in our movie, almost every single one of them, do not improve. Seriously, in theory they are supposed to get better after this movie is over and at least for the most part they really don’t. That completely works here. I guess Cusack’s Adam and Robinson’s Nick might be marginally better but that’s only because they learn they have money now. Lou on the other hand is pretty consistent throughout. He’s an asshole but he’s an asshole who is loyal to his friends and expects them to be the same and that’s how his character closes out the show. The character is irredeemable so making him a better person over the course of one night would’ve actually been foolishness.

That previous paragraph was put in to meet my word quota. The bottom line is that this was funny. Yes, there were times I was laughing with my face buried in my hands at the tastelessness of some of the funny, but whaddayagonnna do? Better to be funny and tasteless than tasteless and not funny or classy and not funny. Or classy and funny for that matter.

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