When There is No Other Way to Time Travel, Take A Hot Tube Time Machine (Review)

Released by MGM

Release Date: March 26th, 2010

Starring: John Cusack, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke

Written by Josh Heald, Sean Anders, and John Morris

Directed by Steve Pink

Rated R (strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language)

Lou: Every young man's fantasy is to have a three-way.
Jacob: Yeah not with another fucking guy!
Lou: It's still a three-way!

Every year we get a few movies that are destined to become cult movies. They aren't necessarily horror, sci-fi, or action movies. Cult movies come in all shapes and sizes. Hot Tub Time Machine is a movie that desperately wants to be a cult movie but doesn't have the convictions to follow through with the premise.

The movie stars John Cusack, Craig Robinson, and Rob Corddry as friends who go to a ski resort that they went to when they were in high school. Along for the ride is Cusack's nephew played by a dude I have never heard of. Anyway when they get to resort they find that the once populated town is now a ghost town. The resort is still open, but looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic world.

The guys are bummed out that their fond high school memories have turned to shit so they do what any group of guys would do in this situation: they get naked and hop into the hot tub. They party so hard in the hot tub that they knock over a can of some Russian energy drink and get sent back in time to 1986. This is the year that they remember and come to find that they are indeed themselves from high school.

This premise is a pretty good one, but they don't do anything with it. They could have continued to use the time machine to go to other times like in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Instead they are stuck to one time period like in Back to the Future. There is really nothing wrong per say with this except it gives us stale jokes about the 80's. These are jokes that we have seen in countless other movies. We get way too many jokes about technology that didn't exist in the 80's. Like when the nephew asks a girl for her email. She replies that she has no idea what he is talking about. These jokes are not very funny and just add to the miserable experience this movie is.

There are some chuckles in this movie though. One of the funniest scenes is when Robinson calls the 1986 version of his wife. She apparently is younger than he is and the sight of the grown Robinson accusing the nine year version of his wife is pretty funny. The jokes in this movie don't get any funnier than that and that is a shame. There is so much potential in this move, but by sticking to one decade the filmmakers have limited the jokes to just making fun of that decade. If this movie had been released ten or fifteen years ago then maybe the jokes would have been funnier.

I like John Cusack. He has always been one of those actors that make you smile when you find out that they are in the movie you are watching. You don't go out looking for a Cusack movie it finds you. I also like Craig Robinson. He is pretty much funny in any movie that he is in. He gets a few good lines, but he seems wasted in this movie. I do not, however, like Rob Corddry. He was ok in Harold and Kumar 2, but he plays the same role every time: the asshole of the movie.

Hot Tub Time Machine has the potential to be a great comedy, but gets bogged down by lame jokes and a premise that isn't nurtured to its full potential. There are some chuckles and a few full on laughs, but the movie is a waste of talent and time.

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