Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Hot Tub Time Machine
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Strong sexual references, drug use and coarse language

Director: Steve Pink
Actors: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, Lizzy Caplan, Chevy Chase, Lyndsey Fonseca, Collette Wolfe, Charlie Mcdermott

Hot tub time machine follows a group of best friends who've become bored with their adult lives: Adam (John Cusack) has been dumped by his girlfriend; Lou (Rob Corddry) is the party guy who cannot find the party; Nick's (Craig Robinson) wife controls his every move; and video-game obsessed Jacob (Clark Duke) won't leave his basement. After a crazy night of drinking in a ski resort hot tub, the men wake up, heads pounding, in the year 1986. This is their chance to kick some past and change their futures - one will find a new love life, one will learn to stand up for himself with the ladies, one will find his mojo, and one will make sure he still exists!

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 95mins
Origin: UNITED STATES
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Cusack through the ages
by Simon Miraudo,

Hot Tub Time Machine is the definitive comedy of the past decade. Hmm, maybe ‘definitive’ is a bit generous. I’m not claiming that it’s the best or even the funniest comedy of the past ten years. But it is the logical conclusion of an important chapter in comedy history. Handily, these chapters can be divided up between the decades. If the 1980s were all about John Hughes-esque teen comedies and the 1990s were all about The Farrelly Brothers’ much imitated brand of gross-out humour, then surely the 2000s belonged to the legion of awkward Judd Apatow acolytes (Rogen, Hill, Carell et al). To call this The Age of Apatow is to essentially call it the Era of the Manchild. Look at The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall or even non-Apatow affiliated comedy hits s...

Hot Tub Time Machine is the definitive comedy of the past decade. Hmm, maybe ‘definitive’ is a bit generous. I’m not claiming that it’s the best or even the funniest comedy of the past ten years. But it is the logical conclusion of an important chapter in comedy history. Handily, these chapters can be divided up between the decades. If the 1980s were all about John Hughes-esque teen comedies and the 1990s were all about The Farrelly Brothers’ much imitated brand of gross-out humour, then surely the 2000s belonged to the legion of awkward Judd Apatow acolytes (Rogen, Hill, Carell et al).

To call this The Age of Apatow is to essentially call it the Era of the Manchild. Look at The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall or even non-Apatow affiliated comedy hits such as The Hangover, Up in the Air and (500) Days of Summer. Each one features men (but really, boys) on the cusp of the next stage of their life, desperately clinging to days gone by. Hot Tub Time Machine director Steve Pink is hardly ‘the next Apatow’, but the lineage of his characters isn’t hard to trace. The guys in his film are too defeated and depressed to even entertain the possibility of 'a next stage'. The only thing keeping them from suicide is a magical hot tub that can send them back through time to their teenage years, offering them the opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives. An actual time machine that can send nostalgic characters back to their heyday? Now we’re getting to that “logical conclusion” business I brought up earlier.

So who are the four time travelers that take this journey? The first is played by John Cusack. I won’t mention his character’s name, because he is essentially playing "John Cusack" – each and every one of his self-involved, sardonic and (of course) heartbroken protagonists. Imagine if his characters from High Fidelity, Say Anything or even Better Off Dead were dumped (once again). Except now, Cusack isn't young enough to jump back on his feet and get back in the game. Now, he’s done. He doesn’t even care. He just wishes he could go back to that great time in 1986 when he was dating a vivacious teenager and spent his nights getting drunk and stoned with his mates.

Cusack has since fallen out of favour with his former best friends. They include Nick (the brilliant Craig Robinson), a failed singer who has such low self-esteem he has agreed to take the last name of his cheating wife. Then there is Lou (the slimy Rob Cordry), an over-the-hill party boy who “accidentally” attempts suicide. The three are united by Lou’s incident, and they agree to an impromptu trip to the Kodiak Valley Ski Resort where they shared the time of their life back in the mid-80s. They are joined on the trip by Cusack’s nephew Jacob (Clark Duke – finally getting his due on the big screen). Eventually, the four of them get drunk and unwittingly jump into a magical hot tub, and party like it's 1986 all over again.

The mechanics of the time traveling hot tub are not important (but if you really want to know, it has something to do with a Russian energy drink and whatever causes a Stargate). Neither are the intricacies of how the quartet blends in amongst all the leg-warmer-wearing teenagers. What is important is that there is a film called ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’. The title is wonderfully dumb – ingeniously self-aware whilst also being easy enough to remember for any viewers who thought The Hangover was an instructional documentary. I’m not going to describe what happens once the characters head back to 1986 (no, not even the fantastic running joke that centers on Crispin Glover’s one-armed bellman). Needless to say, much alcohol and drugs are consumed, leading to situations of a sexually explicit nature. This will be every 15-year-old's favourite movie for at least the next 12 months, or the next 12 minutes (attention spans are getting shorter and shorter these days).

Hot Tub Time Machine is consistently funny; occasionally hilarious. Of course, if you’re not already partial to jokes about bodily fluids, this is not going to be the film that converts you. But there are two specific elements that make Hot Tub Time Machine special, and yes, potentially the ‘definitive’ comedy of the past decade. The first element: Nostalgia. Having been born two years after the film takes place, I can’t claim to identify with the joy of being a teenager in 1986. But even through these broadly drawn character sketches, I felt their longing for days past (as Don Draper says, nostalgia is “pain from an old wound). The second element: Joy. When their moping subsides, these characters revel in their impossible situation, soaking in all the fantastical wonder of being 19 again. Hot Tub Time Machine is rough around the edges (as mentioned, characterisations are broad and the film isn’t very pretty). But, it offers us closure on a decade of great comedy – from the very silly Anchorman to the deathly serious Funny People - in which childish men are forced to grow the hell up.

3.5/5

Check out Simon's other reviews here.

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Member Reviews (52)

Andrew
says
There was so much potential with this movie - a hot tub taking its occupants back to the '80's, but so many opportunities for laughter were missed. It's one of those movies that you think it has to be bad based on the title, and in this case, that was true.
Posted Friday, 21 March 2014 See my other reviews
ED
says
AWFUL, LOW BROW RUBBISH....NO STARS
Posted Friday, 9 August 2013 See my other reviews
Karen Hedges
says
a little out there!! not really great
Posted Monday, 8 April 2013 See my other reviews
Shane
says
Good Bloke movie,Funny . I enjoyed the arm joke suspense made me laugh. Not for the politically correct yuppie set. If your over 30ish and a Man its good.
Posted Friday, 12 October 2012 See my other reviews
Nick
says
This film is aimed at the male 40-somthings (i.e. me). From the little references to clasic 80's movies like Better Off Dead to the three blokes in their 40's who want to chnage their past because things have not worked out the way they wanted it. Lots of swearing and boob shots. Nothing brilliant, but there were bits that had me really laughing and so for that it got an extyra star. Not one to watch with the wife or girlfriend, just some other 40-somthing mates who will get it.
Posted Sunday, 9 September 2012 See my other reviews
Emily
says
Not great but not bad either. Funny in parts but pretty lame.
Posted Thursday, 7 June 2012 See my other reviews
Kim
says
OMG! I watched this and am so disappointed in myself....what was I thinking!
Posted Monday, 14 May 2012 See my other reviews
Phil
says
Enjoyed it. In the vein of Hangover and Roadtrip Had a few laugh and some good flashbacks from the 80s. The end is cool and actually is a nice twist.
Posted Friday, 6 April 2012 See my other reviews
Candice Martin
says
rubbish
Posted Wednesday, 1 February 2012 See my other reviews
Pauline
says
Not bad. WOuldn't write a book about it - but I laughed.
Posted Wednesday, 1 February 2012 See my other reviews
stepbot
says
Appaling.All that is regretable in male American escapist dreck.
Posted Wednesday, 14 September 2011 See my other reviews
Tina
says
Very funny
Posted Tuesday, 30 August 2011 See my other reviews
Manda
says
This is a great movie typical of the slapstick/gross out genre. Performances are great and the characters are endearing - really enjoyed it!
Posted Wednesday, 17 August 2011 See my other reviews
Catherine
says
What a load of utter bullcrap and not funny whatsoever. Should have read the reviews before adding it to the list!
Posted Tuesday, 9 August 2011 See my other reviews
Pauline
says
I am so glad I did not let me kids watch this one. The swearing and adult actions in it are very extreme.
Posted Wednesday, 25 May 2011 See my other reviews
Andy
says
I swear, some would say a lot. But this film was literally a cuss word every 5 seconds. The concept was interesting, but it really wasn't that funny and by the time it was over I hoped never to hear "f**k" again. Honestly, I wish I'd not wasted my time.
Posted Monday, 23 May 2011 See my other reviews
Mickey G
says
Silly, fun, stupid, easy light entertainment film. Only watch on Foxtel if you have nothing else to watch, you won't be disappointed then.
Posted Saturday, 21 May 2011 See my other reviews
sally
says
Fun, silly clever and quirky. As I expected from these actors. Worth watching.
Posted Thursday, 19 May 2011 See my other reviews
Lana <3
says
Awesome movie!
Posted Wednesday, 11 May 2011 See my other reviews
JP
says
Terrible movie, didn't finish watching it, heaps of swearing.
Posted Monday, 11 April 2011 See my other reviews
Skye
says
Have you ever had an idea while you were drunk, that seemed so hilariously funny at the time? Often these ideas prove to be ridiculous, in the light of day. Usually we don't act upon these stupid ideas, but it seems to me that the writers of this film must have written it and submitted it whilst in a drunken stupor. This was such a weak storyline, and mediocre acting, it was dreadful, to say the least.
Posted Friday, 8 April 2011 See my other reviews
dazza
says
just a stupid but very funny movie can relate as a teen if ony you could go back
Posted Saturday, 2 April 2011 See my other reviews
Kazza
says
Well expected more, not interesting enough to keep me watching thoroughly, some laughs, yes, but actual movie may as well have been just clips put together of different parts...not well presented to keep ones attention. Maybe a rainy day movie when nothing else to watch.
Posted Friday, 18 March 2011 See my other reviews
11lani
says
I'm in tune with the other reviews and thought that there was a bit too much swearing and nudity for my liking. It was rather long as well. (or maybe it just wasn't that long but the storyline was a bit drippy.)
Posted Thursday, 10 March 2011 See my other reviews
hg
says
Glad I didn't pay to see this at the movies.
Posted Wednesday, 9 March 2011 See my other reviews
Claudia
says
Trashy American Friday night rubbish if that is what you are after then it delivers. Not thought provoking or clever just good old fashioned silly, ridiculous comedy it made me laugh recommended Friday night viewing.
Posted Tuesday, 8 March 2011 See my other reviews
Liz C
says
I rented this movie because John Cusack was in it and he can generally rescue a dire script. Not this time. This movie is awful. Every joke falls flat. The worst part is, the actors appear to be taking it seriously! Really, really don't bother.
Posted Sunday, 6 March 2011 See my other reviews
moz
says
A comedy, buddy, road trip movie... through time. It makes for a good Sunday afternoon viewing that doesn't require much thinking. Slapstick comedy of an average level, some brilliant moments, and definitely a 'guy' film. It's not back to the future... if that's what you're after.
Posted Wednesday, 23 February 2011 See my other reviews
perthmovies
says
As a huge cusaak fan this movie was very disappointing
Posted Thursday, 17 February 2011 See my other reviews
BooHoo
says
The most stupid movie EVER! Even my DVD player crashed half way through the movie.....I was so glad that happen...I cant say if gets better to the end, but guys, dont waste your time!
Posted Thursday, 10 February 2011 See my other reviews
Craig
says
Disappointing. Funny moments and potential there, but just a bit to cringe inducing overall to make it worthwhile. If you like intellectual comedy - well, let's face it, no -one should expect a movie like this to tax the brain and you definitely wouldn't find this one amusing. But if you like crass, puerile comedy - there are better choices available on Quickflix. Only borrow this if you're desperate.
Posted Monday, 24 January 2011 See my other reviews
Perfectly Good White Boy
says
great film, very meta and fused with many references to films from the 80's.. i'm thinking those reviewers writing about their surprise that Cusack would be in such trash may not have seen his first couple of films. this one is pure homage to those 80's teen-growth films (and i don't mean the Hughes examples). Better Off Dead.. anyone.. anyone.. Beuller? anyone who hasn't seen those 80's flicks will have no idea what's going on here. hopefully none of them have written a review here cause they'll be wasting everyone's time.
Posted Tuesday, 4 January 2011 See my other reviews
Annie
says
Absolute garbage I'm afraid - extremely disappointing for a diehard John Cusack fan! I agree with everyone else who is wondering why he even considered making such an awful film.
Posted Sunday, 2 January 2011 See my other reviews
JaG
says
funny at times but Hangover is such a gr8 movie this is fair
Posted Thursday, 30 December 2010 See my other reviews
jules
says
Even though I did spend my teen years in the eighties I really only found the occasional thing to smile about. Storyline line was underdeveloped and the characters irritating. Stick with the original film for such a concept "'Back To The Future"' and " The Wedding Singer" to revist the eighties.
Posted Wednesday, 8 December 2010 See my other reviews
ollyfun
says
Don't waste your time or more importantly your money.It lacks a decent storyline,it lacks decent acting,basically it lacks all things that make movies a joy to watch.
Posted Wednesday, 24 November 2010 See my other reviews
B
says
this movie is so funny i loved it.
Posted Sunday, 14 November 2010 See my other reviews
Dee
says
This movie wasn't that bad! It's just meant to be cheap fun. Don't treat it like Shakespeare and you will enjoy it.
Posted Monday, 1 November 2010 See my other reviews
Greg Ranger
says
Absolute trash, stupid, stupid me for thinking it would be fun, it wasn't. Should be in the grand final for biggest dud ever.
Posted Sunday, 24 October 2010 See my other reviews
Daniel M.
says
Completely Hilarious!
Posted Saturday, 23 October 2010 See my other reviews
Mary
says
If you like hearing the "f" word every couple of seconds then this is the movie for you. We hated it. Stopped watching it about 1/4 of the way through and returned it.
Posted Friday, 22 October 2010 See my other reviews
cat
says
John Cusack, what has happened to your career???
Posted Monday, 18 October 2010 See my other reviews
lissybug
says
Usually I don't mind these sorts of stupid movies for a laugh but this one wasn't even funny. I kept waiting for it to get funny but it didn't and I ended up falling asleep.
Posted Wednesday, 13 October 2010 See my other reviews
me
says
disappointing. funny at times but definitely not what i expected at all. thought it would be a lot better.
Posted Monday, 11 October 2010 See my other reviews
Matthew B.
says
Fun, and sometimes quite foul, but entertaining.
Posted Sunday, 3 October 2010 See my other reviews
Martyn
says
Rubbish. Nothing original in this at all, foul language throughout and what made John Cushack went near it. Do n ot bother
Posted Wednesday, 29 September 2010 See my other reviews
Keaton
says
This movie was genius. So many very clever reference to Time Travel movies of the 80's. Some of them so subtle you really have to look for them while being bombarded with the tongue in cheek narrative. Crass for some, but if you lived through the 80's, it's like coming home. 4 Stars from me.
Posted Tuesday, 28 September 2010 See my other reviews
ALEX
says
Don't bother script full of swearing...no story,,,surprised JOHN Cusak stooped so low
Posted Monday, 27 September 2010 See my other reviews
Leon
says
File this one under "Dumb Fun". The laughs may be cheap and comedy puerile but that's entirely the point. If you prefer something a little more high-brow I suggest you stick to the "Festival" selections. I personally enjoyed it.
Posted Wednesday, 22 September 2010 See my other reviews
paulnjules
says
worth a watch entertaining and funny
Posted Monday, 20 September 2010 See my other reviews
Ali
says
Disappointing.......potentially could've been in the same league as The Hangover or Zack and Miri, but falls flat on it's face. Hire it if you want but there's better choices to be had.
Posted Monday, 13 September 2010 See my other reviews
sara
says
A puerile and facile attempt at a school boy's fantasy weekend with his immature mates. I am not usually a fan of these movies but trusted it to be different given John Cusack's respected street cred as an actor - what was he thinking?! There was not one single laugh to be had and in fact, the cringe factor was so high I had to look away at times. The respect afforded its female characters is nil and declining and definitely bordering on hate. If you read this and still decide to rent it - you have been warned. I personally, wished I had spent the night cleaning out the septic.
Posted Friday, 10 September 2010 See my other reviews