|Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)|
|Theatrical Movie Reviews Theatrical|
|Written by Daniel Hirshleifer|
|Wednesday, 24 March 2010|
Everyone has that period in their lives where they feel unstoppable, unbeatable, on top of the world. Such times don't last forever, and as we make our inevitable trudge towards middle age, it can often seem like we've been left behind by life. I'm sure every one of us has looked back and questioned the decisions that led us to where we are today. If we could change them, not knowing what the effects might be, would we?
Hot Tub Time Machine is a great idea for a movie. It's got a perfect title for a raunchy comedy, and its release was heralded by an excellent trailer. The final product, however, does not live up to the great promise. First, the good: If you like 80's comedies, this movie does its very best to throw you right back into the fun of those wild and crazy romps. The movie is very much R-rated, and while it could have done with a smidge more nudity, it certainly doesn't hold back on the raunch. It's also a smorgasbord of 80's references, from the Red Dawn obsessed ski security to the many Cusack references. And heck, you've even got comedy staple Chevy Chase as an enigmatic repairman.
Craig Robinson and Rob Cordry carry the day, with the former getting in some hilarious situations (as well as providing the film with its title, complete with look to camera), and the latter reveling in his character's unstoppable and insatiable need for sex. The pair give the film its most memorable moments, and Cordry is really fearless in how slimy and generally unlikeable he allows his character to get. Crispin Glover (another 80's staple) also provides a truly hilarious running gag that pays off beautifully.
Sadly, Hot Tub Time Machine does not live up to its promise or premise. Despite the plethora of 80's culture on display, the film only uses that as a backdrop. The time period is utterly incidental, and only a few jokes even revolve around the fact that the group has travelled back in time. Furthermore, an 80's teen comedy icon, John Cusack, is utterly wasted on a conventional romantic comedy subplot. He spends most of the time sulking. If someone told me his performance was simply cut together from unused takes from his other movies, I'd almost believe it. That's how little effort he puts into the project. Chevy Chase fares even worse, given nothing to do and clearly flailing for something that might be funny, if only the writers had bothered to write it in.
The film takes a short and cutesy uptick as it reaches its conclusion, giving the usual happy ending a decidedly outrageous twist. As it is, it's not bad, but I really can't help thinking that a film with the title Hot Tub Time Machine really could and should have been so much better.