Saturday, March 27, 2010


It's completely absurd but I cannot deny that it gave me some great laughs.  Relatively new director Steve Pinks' Hot Tub Time Machine has a nonsensical premise, but it works because it doesn't aim to be something that it isn't.  The story centers around three good friends Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Robert Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson) who recall some great times they had in their youth at a party called Winterfest held at a ski lodge in Kodiak Valley back in 1986.  The guys decide to  head back to the lodge to relive some of their wild times and Adam brings his nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) along, in an effort to put some adventure into his video-game run life.  

Upon arriving at the lodge, they rent the exact same room they had shared back previously with Hot Tub still present, deciding to put it to use.  After a drunken night of fun and booze, a switch on the tub is doused in a spilled energy drunk called Chernobyl which magically results in all four of the men being transported back to 1986.  Completely ridiculous, right?  Hot Tub Time Machine's silly tone is established from the get-go and we would expect things to continue spiraling out of control from here.  And they do.

Adam, who only recently divorced his wife is working under the assumption of The Butterfly Effect, afraid of veering too far from his past this second time around out of fear that it may alter his series of life events dramatically.  Outspoken and aggressive Lou is pretty much on the verge of suicide when the story starts, but in revisiting his past again, he must face some bullies he encountered previously all over.  Like Adam, he too is afraid of doing this allover again.  Nick is a failed singer who suspects his wife is cheating on him and in going back in time, he winds up trying to persuade his then-nine year-old wife to not stray, while at the same time rediscovering his love of performing once again.  Josh is afraid to alter any series of events in seeing his mother Kelly (Collette Wolfe) who was a wild girl back in the day, as he realizes that this may lead to him never having been born.  Brewing in the background though is the necessity of convincing the Repair Man (Chevy Chase) to fix the Hot Tub so that the four men can return back to present day once more.

The film's humour is completely crass and the jokes are outright vulgar often involving sex, loss of limbs and vomit, but nonetheless I was entertained as I had hoped.  Hot Tub Time Machine does ask some interesting questions about the age-old debate of destiny versus free will as in some instances, efforts are made to change the past which lead to the same result in the end.  Yet in some instances for these men, changing events of the past would lead to drastic differences in their futures.  Comedian Robert Corddry boldy steals the show unapologetically with his buttocks exposed.  And though his character Lou suffers most through much of the film, he winds up being rewarded most handsomely in the end.  His comedic timing is brilliant and he is definitely one to look out for.   

MGM's Hot Tub Time Machine is now in wide release and is worth a visit as long as you expect only to laugh. It's definitely no The Hangover, that's for sure. Grade: C

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