Hot Tub Time Machine Film Review

Hot Tub Time Machine

Release Date (UK) – 7 May 2010
Certificate (UK) – 15
Country – USA
Director – Steve Pink
Runtime – 99 mins
Starring – John Cusack, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry

Adam (Cusack), Nick (Robinson) and Lou (Corddry) are three middle-aged friends, whose lives haven’t panned out quite how they were expecting. After down in the dumps Lou attempts suicide, Adam and Nick decide to cheer him up with a visit to Kodiak Valley, the ski resort where the trio holidayed in their teens. However the town is now almost deserted and the hotel is falling to bits. After spending the night drinking in their room’s hot tub they wake up to discover they’ve travelled back to their younger 80’s selves, during their own previous visit. They must re-enact their exact moves from this visit before they can return to the future.

Hot Tub has been compared to last years comedy hit The Hangover, presumably because it also focuses around four guys on a road trip of sorts (Kick-Ass’ Clark Duke makes up the fourth, as Adam’s geeky nephew). It’s a very specific strand of comedy, and the best gags are based on the 80’s situation itself (What colour is Michael Jackson now?).

What makes Hot Tub Time Machine fresh and superior to The Hangover is the satirical humour. The film openly admits that the time travel genre is tired and clichéd, even poking fun with the films ridiculously simplified title. At one point Nick actually stares at camera and repeats the title in disbelief, and the characters all constantly compare what’s happening to them with other time travel films. Writer Josh Heald clearly isn’t afraid to joke about how formulaic cinema has become, and thus the predictability of Hot tub itself actually becomes funny.

Hot Tub Time Machine: Chevy Chase

Throughout the film it’s Rob Corddry as alcoholic Lou whose performance outshines the rest of the cast. With only some minor TV and film parts under his belt, Hot tub is clearly Corddry’s breakout role and he gives a hilariously animated performance. Meanwhile, Chevy Chase is completely wasted as the hot tub repair man, who briefly gives the guys some dull spiel about not messing with the time continuum, and then promptly vanishes from the room and the film.

Overall, Hot Tub is the American alternative to last years FAQ About Time Travel; a low budget British comedy starring Chris O’Dowd . Whilst FAQ failed to be consistently funny throughout, Hot Tub nearly always succeeds. However its mix of American gross out comedy and cinematic satire is best suited to the males out there.

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