Hot Tub Time Machine

Directed By: Steve Pink

Starring: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, Lizzy Caplan, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Chevy Chase

I love movies from the 80s.  Despite the poor fashion and cheesy pop culture that partially characterizes the decade, there's something about the movies of the era that's always resonated with me.  Perhaps that's why I love Hot Tub Time Machine.  Steve Pink's wild and playful time travel comedy may not be perfect, but it's an undeniable ode to the decade when Ronald Reagan snoozed his way through office and the King of Pop Michael Jackson was still black.  It harkens back to the era of blockbusters such as The Terminator and Timecop.  All the while, the film delivers loads of laughs.

Lou Dorchen (Rob Corddry) is having a hard time getting in touch with his friends, and he is in desperate need of them.  In a dark, isolated place, Lou attempts to take his own life.  However, he has no clue that they're struggling through life just like him.  His friend Adam Yates (John Cusack) has just been dumped by his latest girlfriend.  Meanwhile, his nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) refuses to get some fresh air and instead opts to do hard time in his virtual reality life.    His other friend Nick Webber (Craig Robinson) is helping dogs make lifestyle changes.  All the while, his wife Courtney (Kellee Stewart) is sleeping with her co-worker.  It's safe to say that, like Lou, his friends’ lives suck.

When Adam and Nick learn of Lou's attempted suicide, they pay their old friend a visit at the hospital.  He unloads on them for supposedly ignoring him.  As recompense, they offer to take Lou to the Silver Peaks Lodge in Kodiak Valley, a ski resort they frequented back in their heyday in the 80s.  Adam forces Jacob to go along with them.  Upon arriving, they don't find the same place where the debauchery of their youth took place.  They find a rundown, dilapidated facility.  On the bright side, their room has a hot tub.  With this in mind, the three friends and Jacob get wasted in the hot tub that night.  When they wake up the next morning, they soon realize that it's not tomorrow but a day they've lived before.  Somehow, this hot tub time machine has taken them back to the 80s.  The only person who really knows what's happening to these guys is the Repair Man (Chevy Chase).

The 80s are full of comedic gold, and Steve Pink finds just about all of it in Hot Tub Time Machine.  Chock full of sharp witty pop culture references, hilariously self-loathing characters, and plenty of raunchy slapstick humor, Pink's zany time travel adventure is one tough comedy.  I use the word tough because this is an irreverent comedy with an edge.  Showcasing all his characters' flaws and building on them to comedic effect, Pink is undeniably brutal with his characters.  If you embrace the chaos of Hot Tub Time Machine and set aside the low expectations the film naturally deserves based on its title, it might just astonish you.

The cast is firing on all cylinders here.  They just gel quite well.  First and foremost, Craig Robinson is an absolute delight as Nick Webber.  Tapping into his more artistic side, Robinson is definitely having fun on screen, and it translates to the audience in a big way comically.  Then, we have Rob Corddry as Lou Dorchen.  As Lou, Corddry finds his funny bone partying like a rock star in the 80s and antagonizing Clark Duke's Jacob Yates.  We also have John Cusack as Adam Yates.  For the most part, he's the straight arrow of the group though he has solid chemistry on-screen with the down-to-earth Lizzy Caplan and appropriately awkward chemistry with his effervescent great white buffalo Lyndsy Fonseca.  Finally, we have Clark Duke as Jacob Yates.  He gives us the sharp-tongued nerd and brings plenty of his caustic wit to the big screen.

Hot Tub Time Machine has no right to be as entertaining as it is.  As I said, however, the 80s is a decade rich with the comedic gold.  I have indeed embraced its chaos, and my own rating for the film surprises me.  Hot Tub Time Machine gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a couple of rounds of beer with this one.