The Teen Comedy is getting older. In Hot Tub Time Machine, you can see it donning its twenty five year old crotchless cat suit and attempting to vomit and shag its way back into our hearts. And for the most part I am willing to sit back and enjoy its sordid lap dance. Particularly when the cast is this competent.
The plot follows John Cusack (2012… High Fidelity), Rob Corddry (The Daily Show), Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express) and Clark Duke (Sex Drive, Kick-Ass) as they go on a retreat to a burnt out mountain town, only to jump in a hot tub time machine and get transported back to 1986. Here they must re-enact the actions of their younger selves in order to ensure that the 23 year old Duke is conceived, and that nothing too drastic occurs to mess with the time line and alter their future lives. It’s deliberately silly, and nothing more than a vehicle for the 80s nostalgia and period jokes. However, the final ten minutes of the film will leave you feeling a little bit unsatisfied as the writers try to grasp at a feel-good ending, and somehow manage to fail.
Hot Tub Time Machine is an incredibly blokey film. In fact, anyone who has seen the trailers for the new J-Lo vehicle The Back-Up Plan and thought “that looks right up my street” should probably steer clear of this. It is a real Dick Flick. That means the comedy is derived from sex, drugs, nudity and competitiveness. When this is done well, it should have universal appeal. I can’t quite put this label on Hot Tub Time Machine, but I did thoroughly enjoy myself over its 100 minute run time. I can easily see how others might not feel the same.
Rob Corddry has been singled out as the main attraction by others, and I can only confirm his excellent performance. The other guys are along for the ride, and clearly having a good time together, which is all you can really ask for in a film of this kind. Hot Tub Time Machine may not have the highest of brows, and you will probably forget about it relatively quickly, but it is more than worth a watch while it’s at the cinema, or a rental if it passes you by.