Movie Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

It’s just a matter of time before this blogger, with an item named “Time Travel” in his categories, reviews this movie.

Three best friends, Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson), forty-somethings reminiscent of The Hangover, Adam’s nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) in tow, spend a few days in a mountain resort. Other notable characters are the Repairman (Chevy Chase) and the Bellboy (Crispin Glover).

Lou is a stark raving lunatic alcoholic and drug addict with no regrets and a desperate lust for life. Adam is a professional just dumped by his girlfriend. Nick works at an animal clinic and is under the thumb of his wife, whom he dearly loves, but for whom he has given up all his dreams. And Jacob is so caught up in the virtual world of Second Life, vegetating in the basement of his uncle Adam’s house that he does not even notice that Adam’s girlfriend upstairs is moving out.

Lou drives home drunk, crashes into his garage, closes the garage door and passes out to rock music and alcohol in his car, engine unfortunately running. While it is not a suicide attempt, it looks exactly like one. So his best friends book a trip to the mountain resort where they used to hang out in the Eighties. 

A frantic debauchery in the hot tub turns supernatural when a power drink spills into the electronics and the four occupants are thrown back to 1986. It takes them a little while to figure it out, but once they do, we watch an amusing journey of the characters trying to avoid paradoxes, making sure that they relive history as they remember it without changing things to the effect that some of them might never be born, and finally trying to figure out how to get back to the present.

The movie does a nice job with the plot and the story line. There is a lot of humor.

In some areas it goes overboard, however, turning what could have been a good, enjoyable and intriguing movie into somewhat of a slapstick farce. There are scenes and sequences that are completely unnecessary. Some examples are projectile vomiting at one point, reminiscent of The Exorcist, and totally unrealistic. Another is strong foul language. We get the idea that these are guys bonding, but give me a break. You don’t need the “f” word three times in one sentence to get a realistic feeling of men having a good time. Then there is the scene where Lou loses a bet and has to give Nick a blowjob in front of a raging crowd. The whole scene does nothing to add to the plot or to the development of the characters at that time. It’s just tasteless.

Perhaps they were added to attract the teenage slapstick crowd, but all they did was lower the overall niveau of the film and definitely resulted in the removal of a star in my rating systems.

This is a pretty good and enjoyable movie, particularly when you rent it and didn’t spend ten dollars a head at the theater. It deals with a rich subject matter that could  have been much more refined and intriguing, but the film makers opted the easy way out and put in scores of grotesque Hollywood shock scenes to fill the time.

In summary, this is a reasonable movie that could have been much, much better.

Rating: **

2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

  1. Hi, Norbert,
    Nice blog. Just saying hi, looking for something to comment on.
    I had to turn this movie off once I saw where it was going: teenage gross-out, puerile, etc.
    No interesting time concepts to see here.

    I’ll be reading more soon,

Leave a Reply