Hot Tub Time
Anyone who would give a movie a ridiculous title like Hot Tub Time
Machine must be: A) a complete and utter tone-deaf hack. Or B) a savvy
and ballsy storyteller with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.
pleasant surprise is that the makers of Hot Tub Time Machine are
definitely in column B.
its modest way, this may be the most surprisingly funny movie since The
Hangover last summer – and for many of the same reasons.
movie also takes an obvious and slightly creaky
old premise and does interesting and different things with it. Hot Tub
is not quite as clever as that film – and it is more blatantly cheesy –
however it’s got a whole hell of a lot more laughs than I expected going in
to see the movie.
fact, the low expectations I had may have led me to give the film more
leeway than it deserves, but I have to say that while there is nothing
particularly artistic or deep about Hot Tub Time Machine, it works
just fine as a manic guy comedy.
may not even totally take full advantage of its rich concept. Three forty-ish
losers go back to a resort where they had some of their greatest memories –
bringing along a 20 year old nephew – and during a booze-soaked dip in the
title contraption find themselves transported back to 1986.
turns out that they are back in their bodies during what they recall as the
best weekend of their lives and they have to relive it all without changing
anything for fear of messing up the future – only to realize that they were
just as miserable back then as they are in the present.
nephew is particularly conscious of the idea of not changing history, as he
has not been born yet.
should have known that the chances were good that this movie would be
well-made, because it was produced by John Cusack and directed by his
long-time cohort Steve Pink. They had previously done the terrific
Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity together. Of course, they
had written those films and here Pink is just on board as director and
Cusack as a producer and star – so you never know.
Plus, even though it is treating it as a joke, Hot Tub Time Machine
has a near-foolproof plot device – time travel. It is nearly impossible to
make an uninteresting film about people having the ability to journey
through the years – whether world history or personal.
pleasant news is that despite the aggressively dumb title, this comedy works
much better than anyone had any reason to believe. Don’t be looking for
Hot Tub Time Machine around awards season, but as so-stupid-it’s-smart
guy comedies go, this one scores.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: April 3, 2010.