Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) Directed by Steve Pink. With John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Sebastian Stan.
Directed by Steve Pink, Hot Tub Time Machine is a riotous comedy that is every inch as ridiculous as you might hope/fear. A bit like The Hangover meets Back to the Future, the title says it all. Four guys on a ski resort vacation together, get in a hot tub, which, unbeknownst to them, is a time machine. You won’t need much of your brain capacity for this one.
Of course, time travel affords so many possibilities in terms of story, humour, character and especially nostalgia. Given that the ’80’s is a decade looked back on through rose-tinted specs by many (mostly because of its music, movies, fashion and technology) setting the film in ’86 allows the film-makers to cram in as many colourful reminders of the era as they can.
Aside from the fun of revisiting a certain point in time, the four central actors all seem to enjoy themselves, albeit slightly more than us, at times. Of the four, which includes John Cusack, no less, Rob Corddry’s ‘Lou’ shouts loudest and sometimes most annoyingly, for attention. What’s surprising, given that the film’s premise gives it the opportunity to explore so much, is how unrelentingly crude it is. That’s not always a bad thing, but here, it often seems to tilt the film off-balance and smacks of reverting to raw tones in order to gain cheap laughs.
This isn’t a film that I was itching to tell my friends about afterwards. It’s mildly amusing, occasionally, but it there’s no real rhythm to it. The casting of Crispin Glover is a nice tribute to Back to the Future, but like so many comedies that fade in and out of view, it’s the little nods like this that stick, as opposed to anything significant about the greater whole. 2.5/5