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Movie Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

 
Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years and 2 months ago

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Written 3/19/10

I’m not going beat-around-the-bush with this film. I enjoyed it! I had fun with it! Something about contemporary comedies have been missing out on substance, and after watching Hot Tub Time Machine, I know what it is. It's language, comedy timing, and how specifics from the story generate comedic moments. Yes, it’s not a stomach-hurting comedy that’ll have you pissing on yourself, but there’s an “it factor” to this piece. Much of it lends to the cast who I think did pretty well, but it also has style that might draw attention from both ends of the age spectrum. Those who lived the ‘80s and seeking some kind of time travel for an hour or so and the more contemporary young-bloods who go for the thrill of a humorous adventure… whatever angle one’s approaching – no doubt there’s something here for everyone. Think of it as the 21st Century’s version of the ‘80s pop-flick Back to the future, only this time around, its target happens to be the ‘80s… 1986 to be exact.

I have a pretty good memory and during that year I was in 6th Grade, and still remember A LOT of what was going on at the time. The film does an okay job at presenting it, however; when it comes to timing, there were some minor continuity issues… to name those that stood out… well, “Kid & Play” didn’t exist in ’86 and M.J. wasn’t such a HUGE basketball star just yet. He was out there, but his kicks hadn’t come out till like ’88. (Fact check if you’d like, but I think I’m on point)… now this may not have any relevance to anyone else but ME, so you might be saying to yourself “Who gives a shit?” … but truth is, I do, carajo! Why? Well, because it would have made for a much more realistic affect, but given the fact that it’s just a silly movie for humorous purposes, I can loosen up a bit and not hammer it much. Therefore, the fact that it made me laugh… and more than once… I consider it a comedy. Thank you, Mr. Pink. It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything from you… if I’m not wrong… ‘06’s Accepted starring Justin Long and the subtle introduction to Jonah Hill.

Well, H.T.T.M. has a pretty simple premise and although I was able to hear the murmurs of some puzzled individuals in the audience, there really aren’t any complexities in the story… more like significant points in metaphor due to the present and past and if you’re able to follow through, I think you’ll be okay. The story follows a group of best friends who have become bored with their adult lives: Adam (Cusack) has been dumped by his girlfriend; Lou (Corddry) is a party guy who can't find the party; Nick's (Robinson) wife controls his every move; and video game-obsessed Jacob (Duke) won't leave his basement. After a much needed discussion regarding their lives and pity over one of the guys who is pretty much seeking death more than life, a much needed routine getaway is planned to a frequented resort. Once there and breaking themselves in… a crazy night of drinking at the resort, leads to discovering its hot tub, the men wake up, heads pounding and all in the year 1986. This is their chance to do away with some of the past and change their futures - one will find a new love life, one will learn to stand up for himself with the ladies, one will find his mojo, and one will make sure he still exists!

The acting in the film isn’t Oscar nomination, but certainly believe they all had their chemistry and it came off well on screen. I don’t really want to give much away, but I can say that the show stealers here were both Corddry (Who really stands out in the film in good ways and wait till you see what happens when he loses a bet) and Robinson (Who has a great sense of what comedy is and its timing). In different ways, they carried a vibe to which made you want to keep watching them and wondering what was going to happen next. If it weren’t for them, I think this film would have been a downer. Cusack and Duke have their moments and I’m not knocking them, but like every comedy film… there has to be that spark, and I’m glad this one had it. And raw if I may add… lots of potty-mouthing going around and periods of sexual tension, which always helps… always helps.

Without forgetting someone who also had a pretty interesting role… Crispin Glover as “Phil” the resort’s bellboy… the running joke with Glover is fucking hilarious and never loses its edge. This cat’s a pretty good actor as well and having recently seen him in Alice in Wonderland under a darker persona as “Stayne-Knave of Hearts,” truly flipped the script here and it was obvious he was having a great time with this film. However; every sweet moment has its sour as well… and I think the sour moments to this film came when Chevy Chase was around. The man tried, but did not really get many chuckles from the audience. It was kind of awkward to see him trying to do his thing. If he wasn’t such an essential character (well, kind of essential – you’ll see), I’d recommend cutting him out of the film outright. Vay con dios, Chevy. You had it going on at one time, but it’s 2010.

This is not The Hangover, but, it has some hilarious moments that would be worth the price of a matinee, but NOT the shit-load one would pay after 3pm. I say this because the middle of the film loses a bit of steam, but really picks up towards a rewarding ending… which I guess leaps from its opening. It’s most definitely a guy flick and I also think that unless one lived through the “80s, some of the ambiance and language will not be understood, therefore, there will be a lot of confused 20 year olds who will check this out. This film is everything… stupid, enjoyable, retarded, funny, ridiculous, but overall entertaining.

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