Four guys on a male bonding trip that goes a little haywire when they jump, naked, into a hot tub and it transports them back 24 years to 1986. It’s amazing that a writer even got through the front door of the studio with an idea like that. I sure am glad someone was crazy enough to listen though.
Hot Tub Time Machine is a coming of age, in reverse – sort of, story of three friends who’ve lost touch over the years. Adam (John Cusack) is a lonely insurance agent who has his video-game-loving nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), living in his basement. Nick (Craig Robinson) is married and working in a dog parlor, when all he wants to do is follow his passion of working in the music industry. Lou (Rob Corddry) is the misfit friend, who is always coming up with wacky ideas and drinking himself into a stupor. Adam and Nick ignore his calls and pretend he doesn’t exist until one evening they are forced to reconnect with their friend.
Following an accident on Lou’s behalf, Adam and Nick are asked to look after him. The guys decide that they’ll go to the ski lodge where they spent time in their younger years. With Jacob tagging along, the friends depart for what they think will be one of the best weekends of their lives.
As they arrive at the lodge, they notice that things are not quite how they remember them. Realizing they may have to make their own fun, the guys decide to get into the hot tub. After drinking and partying, the guys wake up not realizing they aren’t in 2010 anymore. As they hit the slopes, they see that the resort is surprisingly full of people and their attire is quite different. Neon colors, tight pants and leg warmers brighten the snowy trails.
After figuring out that something is off, the guys head back to their rooms and notice that all of their belongings now resemble what they wore back in the 80?s. Confused and ready to get back to the present, the guys see a man appear in their room. A repair man (Chevy Chase), who is basically like a fairy godmother to them, explains that they must do everything the same as they did the last time they were at the resort in order to return to 2010. The activities include sex with a stranger, a fork to the eye and getting pulverized by a lodge employee.
As time goes by, they all realize that repeating their past mistakes are not as simple the second time around. New decisions and opportunities present themselves and the old friends become torn as to what to do. Do they stick to the plan or follow their intuition?
This film was laugh out loud funny, but the first half was especially hysterical. Within the first few minutes of the film, there was already a gross-out, stir-in-your-seat kind of scene. The four main characters played well off each other and had a good chemistry. Duke is a great new comedic talent and was able to hang with the seasoned vets. Crispin Glover was also well used as a supporting character.
Corddry stole just about every scene he was in. His portrayal of a crude, brash guy was spot-on. Cusack was enjoyable to watch as well. I was kind of distracted in the beginning of the film when the camera did close-ups of him though. He looks like he’s had some work done; there weren’t really any wrinkles or anything on his 44-year-old face. I wasn’t sure if I was watching the character of Adam or Lloyd Dobler from 20 years ago.
The producers pulled off the throwback to 1986 like pro’s. The references to the time period could be seen tenfold, whether it was when talking about Red Dawn and James Spader or the turtlenecks and lycra clothing. The music was focused on 80?s hair bands such as Poison and Motley Crue. The big hair, big collars and big flare of that time period was definitely capitalized on.
This is definitely a comedy gem. Great characters and smart dialogue add to an original concept.