Screen Rant’s Paul Young reviews Hot Tub Time Machine
If you have watched any of the red band trailers for Hot Tub Time Machine, then you fully know what to expect from the film – cussing, raunchy jokes, hot women, nudity and plenty of 80’s references. Director Steve Pink makes no apologies for the way his film turned out. He wanted to fully venture into the world of the rated “R” comedy and that’s just what he did.
Pink has left his PG-13 days well behind him, and manages to keep the sometimes-muddled Josh Heald and Sean Anders ( She’s Out of My League, Sex Drive) script on track. What Hot Tub Time Machine lacks in plot, it more than makes up for in laughs. I’ll admit it; I laughed from the time the film started all the way to when the credits rolled, so on that level the film works. On the other hand, there are some very glaring plot holes in the story and some of the sub-plots aren’t really necessary at all and end up being distracting.
The film starts with Nick (Craig Robinson) working as a dog groomer at Sup Dawg, and it’s clear right away that this is not what he had envisioned for his life. The same goes for Adam (John Cusack), whose girlfriend just left him, and Lou (Rob Corddry), who is an aging drunk trying to over-compensate for his screwed up life by driving a Trans-Am and listening to 80s hair band rock ’n roll. Then there is Jacob (Clark Duke), Adam’s sister’s son (read: nephew), who does nothing all day but live in Adam’s basement, chat on the internet and play video games. Think Kip from Napoleon Dynamite but without the mustache.
After an accidental suicide attempt by Lou, the guys decide to take him away for the weekend to try and make his (and their) life not suck so much by going to their old skiing haunt up in the mountains. One problem: the town has all but closed down. Nobody young, fun and beautiful visits there anymore. The hotel they are staying is virtually empty, save for a cranky one-armed bellhop named Phil (Crispin Glover). It’s clear that this is NOT going to be the trip they were hoping for – that is, until they all decide to hang out “Wild Hogs Style” in the hot tub together.
After a night of hot tub boozing, the guys wake up in 1986, smack dab in the middle of Winterfest ’86, where the women ski in bikini tops, big furry boots and the headlining band is Poison. They eventually catch on to what has happened to them and then it’s an all-out run to try and get back to present day.
The extremely attractive Lyndsy Fonseca plays Adam’s girlfriend, Jennie, while Lizzy Caplan plays Adam’s other love interest, a magazine writer that follows the band Poison around on their exploits across the country. This love triangle is one of the sub-plots that really didn’t need to be in the film; I never found myself really caring whether Adam ended up with either girl. Take that whole sub-plot out of the film and you wouldn’t miss it at all.
Corddry is on point with his wild man attitude and Robinson is great as the married man who thinks his 9-year-old wife is cheating on him (trust me, you’ll understand once you see the scene). Duke didn’t do much for me, even though he had a few funny lines – the script mostly has his character running around on all sorts of errands. I’m most disappointed with John Cusack’s performance, though; he, Glover and Chase are huge actors from the 80s and each of their parts should have shined. But alas, much like 2012, it felt like Cusack “phoned in” his performance.