I have not often seen a movie as polarizing amongst the people I know as Hot Tub Time Machine, starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke. I know probably equal parts people who thought it was stupid and people who thought it was hilarious. Lets find out what I think. Join me, won’t you?
Hot Tub Time Machine is the story of 3 friends who have grown apart in their adult life. Craig Robinson is a former musician that now picks BMW keys out of dogs asses for Lt. Jim Dangle. John Cusack has just been dumped by his girlfriend and has his nephew, Clark Duke, living in his basement and pretty much refusing to interact with the rest of humanity except via Second Life. And Rob Corddry is so into Motley Crue that he forgets to turn off his car while in his garage because the jams on “Home Sweet Home” is just too fine. Needless to say to the learned peoples of the world, but when you are in a closed garage and your car is not only idling, but is also revving up in tune with the Crue, you mayhaps will die. So Robinson and Cusack get called in to the hospital because of Corddry’s “attempted suicide” and, to cheer him up, they decide to take a little slice out of their younger years and go up to Kodiak Valley, where the 3 used to tear it up in the 80’s. Dragging Duke along, much to the chagrin of Corddry, the 4 head up to Kodiak Valley just to find that it has fallen upon hard times, most of their favorite joints have closed and their hotel is host to old people. Desperate for entertainment and drawn in by the Pulp Fiction-esque glowing light from the Hot Tub, they take to their birthday suits and jump in, getting completely sloshed and knocking over their Chernobyl energy drink into the controls. They wake up in the morning, go skiing, and soon find out that they are somehow back in 1986. The 4 now have to decide if they want to avoid screwing up the time space continuum and do exactly what they did when they were there in ’86, or fix what went wrong and risk making Hitler president.
It is something that I have talked about before, but I think this movie is probably the best example of my problem with how people view comedies. I heard a lot of people talking about this movie and how ridiculous the premise was for this movie and so they couldn’t get into it. Are you kidding me? Again, it’s just what they need to have something of a story while they make the funny happen. Who cares how something makes you laugh, just let it do it. And it’s not like this movie isn’t fully aware of how ridiculous it is. One of my favorite moments of the movie, which is also in the trailers for it, is when Craig Robinson figures out what happens and actually says the name of the movie and looks directly straight-faced at the camera, basically saying “Fuck you, this is happening”. I love that. Own your ridiculousness. Also, the story is something many people can relate to. Probably everyone in the world that’s less than pleased with their life wish they had the opportunity to jump back in time at a crucial moment, if even for just a day, and possibly set your life on a better path.
The cast is great in this movie. John Cusack is mostly the straight man and does have to seemingly try very hard to match his comedic giant costars. Craig Robinson is often one of the best parts of anything I’ve seen him in. Rob Corddry is such an over the top asshole, but you still feel really bad for him at many times. Clark Duke reminds me a lot of Jonah Hill in this roll and he just seems to hang out and throw awesome comments from the background. Besides the main cast, Chevy Chase is fantastic as the cryptic possibly-supernatural person disguised as the hot tub repair man who refuses to say that it’s a time machine but has to give his exposition … and also seems to think Clark Duke is a woman. Crispen Glover also has a small part in this movie as a bellhop, and it’s possibly his least strange and most tolerable performance ever. Lizzy Caplan is here too, and she’s cute and all, but doesn’t make much impact.
So I’m not sure if the haters walked into this movie expecting a work of art, like Schindler’s List with a hot tub, or if the jokes were just not their bag, but they were mine. I likes me a good laugh movie, especially if it seems mostly improved. I digs it. I says “Rent it, then buy it if you’re one of the people that likes it” out of 37 billion.