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"Hot Tub Time Machine" Review

While it's being touted as this year's version of The Hangover a raunchy R-rated comedy - Hot Tub Time Machine (AWESOME title) doesn't quite hit that film's sublime heights, but even if it isn't as good, it's still pretty damn good. And funny.

The concept is simple: Three friends and a nephew - John Cusack, Craig Robinson (Knocked Up, Zach & Miri Make A Porno), Rob Corddry (The Daily Show), and Clark Duke (Sex Drive, Greek) go on a ski getaway to a town and resort they frequented as young men. They arrive to find the town and resort run down and little fun to be had until the titular gizmo tosses them back to 1986 to a seminal weekend in their lives. Fearing ruining the time-space continuum and screwing up the future - a la A Sound of Thunder - they attempt to relive every miserable moment and resist the urge to do things differently. (Do they? What do you think?)

Well-written and played HTTM is solidly hilarious for the first half, only slowing down as they try to give the guys their "character moments." What made The Hangover so great was that film's wise decision to not try and redeem any of these bozos, opting to keep the hammer down on the crazy accelerator pedal. While HTTM is a little softer, it never gets flaccid and always bounces back to deliver some more funny. Not for easily-offended killjoys; it's gloriously profane and raunchy, though for all the drinking, drug use and nudity (not enough IMO) depicted, I don't recall anyone smoking a cigarette, so pervasive is that taboo. Lame.

One quibble: It's unclear when the movie is set in the beginning. Duke's character is 20 and 2006 is shown in one shot, but they have iPhones which weren't introduced until 2007 and the movie ends in 2010 in a *SPOILER* world ruled by cats. *END SPOILER* (Note: Spoiler isn't.)

Score: 8/10. Catch a matinee. (Movie opens March 26.)

P.S. Keep an ear out for a great Better Off Dead reference when they're on the ski slopes. About a quarter of my audience reacted. Heh.


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