Monday, April 5, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) - Refreshing Nostalgia

On the Menu: HOT TUB TIME MACHINE (2010)
Ingredients: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Lizzy Caplan, Crispin Glover and Chevy Chase. Directed by Steve Pink. Run time: 100 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I had a free movie ticket and chose this movie over SHUTTER ISLAND. It was 12:40 in the afternoon, and I figured I'd rather start the day with something funny instead of creepy. With a title like HOT TUB TIME MACHINE you have to expect silliness (just like SNAKES ON A PLANE).

Lou (Corddry) is an alcoholic partier, who almost dies in his garage when he passes out behind the wheel while belting out some Mötley Crüe. His old friends, Adam (Cusack) and Nick (Robinson), see it as a suicide attempt. The trio decides to take a trip down memory lane to a ski lodge they stayed at in 1986 -- a time when they still "had momentum." Tagging along is Adam's nephew, Jacob (Duke), who lives in his uncle's basement because his mom has shacked up with her new boyfriend.

The present-day lodge isn't as lively or kempt as they remembered it. The hot tub is pretty gross, too, until a repair man takes care of it.

The foursome jumps in and things get crazy. So crazy they cause the hot tub to go haywire, and end up back in '86. They feel young again. They look young again (at least to everyone else).

The problem is poor Jacob starts to flicker a la Marty McFly whenever the guys don't retrace their '86 steps. Oh, and the hot tub is broken, so how will they get back?

Tough to Swallow: Jacob is said to be 20 years old, but was conceived in 1986? That's fuzzy math. I can't say for sure (having only seen the movie once), but I think the digital reading on the hot tub was 2006 when they first went back in time, then changed to 2010 when they traveled back.

There are a few anachronistic issues. "21 Jump Street" is referenced by Blaine, but it didn't air until 1987. There's a RAMBO III poster in Blaine's bedroom, but that movie didn't come out until May 25, 1988. Nick and Lou bet on the Broncos/Browns AFC Championship game with "The Drive" by John Elway. That game took place on January 11, 1987. Adam, while writing break-up poetry, listens to "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" by Cutting Crew, but it didn't hit the States until January 4, 1987.

I don't think Chevy Chase was a good casting choice. They should have gone with Christopher Lloyd, Michael Biehn or Bruce McGill for the role of Repair Man.

Something to Chew On: The movie's references include "ALF," "21 Jump Street," "Miami Vice," "Saturday Night Live," "Family Guy," "Stargate SG-1," RAMBO III, THE KARATE KID, WILD HOGS, RED DAWN, TIMECOP, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT, THE TERMINATOR, BETTER OFF DEAD... and BACK TO THE FUTURE.

Jessica Paré plays the groupie who has sex with Nick. She also starred in the quiet gem LOST AND DELIRIOUS (2001) with Piper Perabo and Mischa Barton.

Director Steve Pink also wrote HIGH FIDELITY and GROSSE POINT BLANK (both, of course, starring Cusack).

Cusack also has a co-producer credit for this film.

See if you recognize the guy who plays Rick Steelman.

The film currently as a 7.5 user rating on IMDb.com (3,906 votes).

Aftertaste: It's being touted as this year's THE HANGOVER. Well, it's early yet, but HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is a guy movie that's definitely funny, clever and ridiculously crude.

The funny and clever parts will appeal to the demographic that actually remembers the '80s. The ridiculously crude parts will cater to the teens who won't get the other references. And, Cusack is probably the only reason the ladies will want to see it (not exactly the same draw as Bradley Cooper, but hey).

Cusack is the biggest star here, but the movie really centers around Corddry's Lou. And, most of the hilarity and gross-out moments come when Corddry is on screen. Sure, he might come across as over-the-top, but he's playing an alcoholic party animal. How else should he play it? Robinson provides a few laughs, and Duke holds his own as a computer/sci-fi nerd.

There's a great running gag involving the elder McFly, Crispin Glover. The cameo of all cameos comes during the football betting scene. It's my favorite part of the movie. It's pretty freakin' sweet.

And, it's great to see characters in a time travel movie discuss the plots of THE TERMINATOR, BACK TO THE FUTURE and, especially, TIMECOP.

I always wonder why if someone goes back in time and changes something, they retain their old memories and know nothing of their new future when they come back. Taking a new path would create new memories, right?

Don't worry. You won't need to think at all when watching HOT TUB TIME MACHINE.

Rating:

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