You suck and you know it!
You just ruined my fucking weekend!
Well, the chicks...
But no, man.
Who needs another nostalgic parody that brings all of that together into one package that won't even fit into a DeLorean? Well, apparently John Cusack does... specifically back to 1986, where he wasn't just an actor but an icon on skis, man! Hence his signing on to the film Hot Tub Time Machine based solely on the name.
Yes, folks, Hot Tub Time Machine in which a group of four friends pile not into a DeLorean to travel back to the Mid-1980s, but into a Hot Tub to do just that... so the party never has to END, man! Gnarly! See, things aren't going so well for these four dudes since 1986. You've got Adam (Cusack) whose wife has recently left him alone with his disaffected nephew. Then there's Adam's best buddy Nick (Craig Robinson) who has gone from aspiring musician to the guy who performs rectal exams on dogs for a living and laments the fact that his wife is cheating on him. Worst of all is Lou (Rob Corddry) who is still so stuck in the 1980s that he almost kills himself to the sounds of Mötley Crüe! I guess Ozzy wasn't playing on the Way Back Radio Hour that night!
Well, I SAY that Lou's got it worst of all but considering that Adam's aforementioned disaffected nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) wasn't even born yet in 1986 and has had a really crappy time since then, maybe he gets the Suck Prize. Hell, I don't know. You guys go vote.
You back? Cool.
So to help get Lou over his apparent depression (in spite of the fact that he's "The Asshole" friend), Adam, Nick and the dejected Jacob (whom Lou hates almost as much as Jacob hates him) drag the Lou-Ser out to a ski lodge for the kind of non-stop party that they had in that very lodge in that very suite and in that very hot tub way back in 1986! But man, have the times ever changed for them!
That is until they all pile naked into a hot tub and are met by a series of in-the-tub/ out-the-tub partiers until an energy drink spills all over the controls and rips a tear in the space-time continuum thrusting all four of these douche bags back in time to the California of the year 1986! Let's face it, that's where a LOT of us would go! Hell, that's even where Spock went in Star Trek IV! It's true, go watch it! Though I don't remember him, Kirk, Bones and Chekov ever sharing a Jacuzzi together while in the nude before doing lines of coke and eating 'shrooms, I'll admit. Maybe I'll re-check the deleted scenes or something. Hell.
Anyway, once the forlorn foursome hit the slopes things should be getting a lot better, right? Well, see, they don't realize they're back in time until right about then... when they see all of those neon-colored tight pants, walkmen, enormous Cellular Phones, high top fades, "I Want My MTV" Commercials and t-shirts that read "Where's The Beef?"! That's not to mention the hot chicks with big hair and leg warmers romping with teenagers! Apparently our buddies have Quantum Leaped into themselves back in the past so that when they look in the mirror they see their younger selves. (Luckily the producers were able to find a little bit of footage of John Cusack at that age so they could find an actor that looked enough like him. What are the odds?) What's more, since ol' Jacob didn't exist at all back in time, he still looks like himself but occasionally fades out into... a big fat bowl full of NOTHING!
Could this have anything to do with the fact that his mother (Adam's sister) Kelly (the lovely Collette Wolfe) is one of the aforementioned hot chicks with big hair and leg warmers romping with teenagers? Eh... COULD BE-EE!
Man... I love Leg Warmers on hot women. Wow!
Oh, moving on. So the mission is to follow the old Time Travel logic to make sure nothing at all gets changed in the future (lest all things go to hell and Jacob goes to... limbo, I guess) until the Fritzy Unstuck Hot Tub gets fixed by the mysterious Repairman (Chevy Chase). This is great in the fun cases like partying with hot women and performing on stage in front of a bunch of drunks, but can be much less cool when having to get one's ass kicked exactly as one did in '86 and breaking up with girlfriends while getting stabbed in the face with plastic forks and shit like that.
Man, that blows goats, man!
In many ways this is another 80s party flick viewed through the lens of 2010! Under the direction of Steve Pink the screenplay by Josh Heald, Sean Anders and John Morris shines with some of the most familiar elements of those kinds of Teen Comedies of the day (many of which starred Cusack himself). You've got the obnoxious jock douche bags who constantly want to fight the main characters, like Sebastian Stan's Blaine and his Cronies. You've got your MTV references, your impossible feats and crazy deadlines. You've got your musical interludes, your break-up poetry, hell, even an appearance by Crispin Glover... How 80s can you GET? All of that is waiting for the four chumps on the other end of the Hot Tub Time Machine. However, all of this is observed with a strange wit that shows that we're all pretty much over the whole decade, while never forgetting how much fun the era could be in so many ways.
Speaking of which, let's all give a salute to our hot chicks with big hair and leg warmers who romp throughout this flick! Of course we meet our lovely ladies in support of the film like Jessica Paré and Crystal Lowe (neither of whom always wear their Leg Warmers... or other stuff) but we also are met with Tubular performances by Lyndsy Fonseca as Adam's young girlfriend Jenny and the very welcome addition of the lovely and talented Lizzy Caplan as April, the Spin Magazine journalist sent to cover the Poison concert.
Ladies, we salute you!
Trust me, Hot Tub Time Machine is a ton of fun and has its fair share of surprising and very fun moments in its 101 minute runtime. Still, this is far from a perfect film. There are a few moments of scatological and very gross gross-out comedy. For a movie with as many nifty ideas as this it's eye-rolling when a crap joke is fallen back upon for the cheap-ass laughs. Further there is a veritable butt load of temporal anachronisms that can't be explained away with "Oh, that tub is The TARDIS, dudes!" Sure it's a film that pokes good-natured fun at the whole 80s but it's hard not to notice the many references to things that just weren't out yet, pilgrims.
And then there's the fact that... it's hard not to notice that a lot of this has been done before. The obvious similarities to Back to the Future and even Weird Science go a bit beyond the "Homage" zone. If the appearance by Crispin Glover wasn't enough, we've even got the necessity to get two people together so children of the future will still be born but not until one wild performance of a modern song in the past pleases an audience of party-goers. "McFly" is even name-checked once or twice!
Without forgetting that this is a comedy with a Science Fiction Backdrop (not a Sci-Fi Comedy) it's easy to see how many more things would be messed up by these inebriated corn-balls staggering around in the past. Luckily we're distracted often enough by sculpted, perky, naked female breasts that the nerds in the audience can just chillax and get back to their Stargate fan fiction!
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, We Are The '80s... and surprisingly Hot Tub Time Machine gets the decade right and a fuckload of the entertainment quality right. It's funny, profane, weird, nostalgic and worth somewhere around Three and One Half Stars out of Five! Oh, it could've been better... especially if the film featured a lot more Lizzy Caplan and Crystal Lowe (specifically in scenes together... maybe in the hot tub itself... and... nevermind) but taken for all with all it's worth seeing, Amigos Y Amigas! So until I'm rocketed back into myself in 1986 and realize that Satin Jackets, middle-parted hair, tight-rolled jeans over scuffed Eastlands and Polo knock-offs with upturned collars really WEREN'T all that cool, I'll see you neon junkies in the next reel!
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