“Do I really gotta be the asshole who says we got in this thing and went back in time?” – Jacob
I feel like I sort of have to explain my personal history with this movie just a bit. It’s something my husband and I still joke about to this day. When we saw previews for this movie on tv, it looked BAD. I mean so stupid you’d want to shoot yourself bad. Then a friend of mine came to visit from out of town. We wanted to go see a movie and literally nothing was playing, so we gave this one a go. I have never been so pleasantly surprised in my entire life. This movie is incredibly entertaining. Is it the best comedy ever made? hardly. But, that brings up a good point. My comedy reviews are going to be hard for me. Because for me, comedy is almost like a guilty pleasure. I almost don’t expect it to be good. As long as it has good jokes, enjoyable characters, and the plot isn’t too stupid, I’m good with it. Surprisingly, I like a lot of raunchy comedies. That being said, it is going to be rare that I will rate a comedy as high as other movies. Looking at my comedies, there’s one or two that might crack above a 4… because those are exceptions to my rule: those actually have more weight to them.
This one, however, does not. So for those of you who have never seen nor wanted to see this movie, I encourage you to reserve judgement. I did, and I’m glad for doing so. **brief aside: this was the first blu-ray my husband and I bought. We literally bought the blu ray then went “crap, we need to buy a movie.” so we trotted into Best Buy and found this one for 5 dollars. Just a random fact**
The story introduces us to “friends” Adam, Nick and Lou (played by John Cusack, Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry), who each have something really crappy going on in their life. Adam just got a divorce, Nick is at a dead end job and just found out his wife cheated on him, and Lou is in the hospital after an attempted suicide. Adam and Nick decide to cheer Lou up and they all (plus Adam’s nephew Jacob, played by Clark Duke) take a trip to an old winter resort that was their college party grounds. After getting there and realizing the place has lost its “charm” (aka: it’s a shit hole), they decide to have one crazy night of drinking and then go home. They get into the hot tub on the deck of their room, spill a drink on the controls, and wake up in 1986.
After coming to terms that their hot tub transported them back in time, Adam, Nick and Lou decide to reenact the events of their trip from 1986 exactly as they remember them so that they can get back and nothing in the future will be messed up. They attempt this, each reliving some good and not so good times, and realize who they really were and what makes them happy (but not without some bumps on the way). Obviously things don’t go completely according to the plan, and only after the hot tub repair man (Chevy Chase) tells them that the same drink they spilled in the controls will reverse the process, they’re off to search for the one drink they have left (that has of course gotten stolen by the ski patrol guys).
This movie seems really stupid. I’ve watched it a few times over the years and honestly I still can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a spoof of time travel movies or if it’s taking itself seriously. If it is a spoof, then it’s a great one that takes itself more seriously than spoofs normally do these days. If it’s a serious time travel movie, it doesn’t forget to laugh at itself and almost realizes just how stupid the premise is.
The thing for me that makes this movie watchable (as opposed to completely and utterly stupid – i will be reiterating this fact a lot during comedies) are the performances. I’m not going to go off on a complete tangent, but I think that comedic actors – GOOD comedic actors – are way undervalued in Hollywood. I think it takes more acting chops to be funny than it does to be serious. It’s all about timing and delivery and just a certain… something. And this movie and these actors have that. The chemistry between them is hilarious. The delivery of the jokes is good. Adam is the more serious of the three, and John Cusack makes it work in the way that only he can. He’s grounded, and if anything, this movie and his journey through it makes him realize that maybe he shouldn’t be quite so “blah.” Craig Robinson is always an enjoyable person to watch (love me some “Office”), and this movie is no exception. He gets to relive his dream of being the lead man in his band, and it helps him deal with the way his life has gone now and what he needs to do to make put it back on track. Lou, played by Rob Corddry, has to relive some pretty bad moments (getting beat up), but in the end he finds out what life is really all about and what is worth living for (It involves some really bizarre stuff…)
Clark Duke as Adam’s nephew Jacob is probably my favorite character. He’s a kid, and he wasn’t even born in 1986, so he’s experiencing everything for the first time, and honestly, he’s easy to relate to because i can’t help but think that I would act like he does if I ever got sent back in time. He hates his mom (adam’s sister) and turns out she’s up there that weekend in 1986 too! Seeing your parents in a whole new light is always hilarious, and this is no different. Not to mention dealing with no technology.
The end is kinda weird, and I honestly don’t know if I like it or not. Part of me feels like it’s a giant cop out. That being said, if this is a total spoof on those time travel movies, I forgive the ending a bit more, because it’s what everyone in those movie want to do but can’t. I won’t give it away. You’ll just have to watch it and see for yourself.
There’s really nothing wrong with this movie. Like i said, it was a pleasant surprise the first time i watched it. In all honesty, a lot of my hatred or problems with comedies is simply that I don’t enjoy the type of humor, or I don’t get the jokes. This one has a few of those… it’s raunchy and has a ton of sex jokes. I’m not a crazy conservative person or super naive. I enjoy raunchy jokes if they’re done right. Some of these are, and some of them aren’t. That’s just what i’m saying.
Watch this movie and decide for yourself. If I need a good “I don’t care” movie, or if I just need a fun movie, this one is a good one to choose. The characters are good, the humor is funny, and the fact that you can travel through time in a hot tub is just so amazing/hilariously horrible you just have to laugh.
I give Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) a 3 out of 5. Solid entertainment if you need a laugh.**
Up Next: The Hangover (2009)
** note: I just found out they’re making a second one. I have no idea how they’re going to do this unless they’re going to undo some stuff or not use the same characters, just the same idea. That being said, Gillian Jacobs is in it (Britta from Community). That could be entertaining.