Steve Pink | 2010 | 100 mins | USA
The experience of watching Hot Tub Time Machine was a strange one. As a former John Cusack devotee who wasn't crazy about his work in the '00s, I expected to find this entertaining but at the same time a bit cringe-worthy. I was worried that the comedian-stacked cast and Snakes On A Plane-ish funny but maybe ironic but maybe just literal title would not actually add up to an awesome comedy. And yet, I found myself laughing out loud consistently throughout.
Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson) play three old pals whose glory days of '80s teendom are behind them. Adam's a jerk whose girlfriend has just left him. Lou's a full blown alcoholic who hasn't outgrown his party animal behaviour. Nick is a failed musician who works in some kind of puppy salon. In an attempt to revive their friendships and their sad lives, the three estranged best friends (accompanied by Cusack's nephew Jacob, played by Clark Duke) head to their old vacation haunt, a ski resort by the name of Kodiac Valley, where a drunken night in the hot tub lands them back in 1986. How and why? It's got to do with some spilled drinks, but really, does it matter? While the three 40-somethings (now back to being their teen selves) relive the good times, Jacob tries to ensure that his own birth doesn't get erased by their time traveling shenanigans.
I'm sure the arguments about whether Hot Tub Time Machine is able to live up to its own hype will continue for a little while longer. Here are three good reasons to go see it in the meantime:
1. Rob Corddry. As Lou, the Mötley Crüe-loving total fuckup of the friend group, he manages to be simultaneously hilarious, completely pathetic, and strangely attractive. He's magic.
2. The cameos. Crispin Glover as the one armed bellboy provides the film with some really enjoyable recurring gags, and a big time comedy veteran is surprisingly endearing as the hot tub repairman. Both might have been kind of lame but are funny and sweet instead.
3. The ski patrol villains. A shout-out to the world of '80s jock vs. geek teen flicks, this crew of well coiffed cool guys think our time traveling heroes are hiding something, and they're hell bent on stopping them. They're even named Blaine and Chaz, as any ski dudes should be.
Bonus points for a guy in a bear suit who keeps randomly popping into the action.