Friday, March 12, 2010

"Hot Tub Time Machine"

Remember the 80's? Day-glo clothes? Big hair? Unsafe sex? Reagan? You showed such promise then, but the 80's ended, and the 90's came and went, and now at the start of the second decade of the 21st century you find yourself drudging through each day at some meaningless job. What if you could go back in time and do it over again? What if you had a “Hot Tub Time Machine”?

Adam, Nick, and Lou are three friends who not only saw all their dreams die, but grew apart from each other as the years passed. Now Adam (John Cusak: “2012”) is a lonely insurance agent with his geeky nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke: “Sex Drive”) living in his basement, Nick (Craig Robinson: “The Office”) works at an upscale dog salon, and Lou (Rob Corddry: “The Daily Show”) is a complete train wreck of a man.

After Lou has a close call with death the guys, Jacob in tow, decide to relive a bit of their youth by returning to the ski resort they went to during their high school years; a winter party Mecca. Unfortunately the resort town has fallen on bad times, and they find that main street is almost abandoned, and their favourite lodge has become a dump.

Depressed and defeated the foursome decides to make the best of it and get completely wasted. After an accident with a can of Russian energy drink, the guys find themselves magically transported, “Quantum Leap” style, into their younger selves during Winterfest '86. Yes, this is an incredibly stupid premise, get over it, you'll be glad that you did.

Combining a lot of the feel of 80's comedies like “Better Off Dead”, “One Crazy Summer”, and “National Lampoon's Vacation” with the modern mentality of films like “The Hangover” and “I Love You, Man” with a dash of the loose science fiction found in movies like “Back to the Future” and “Weird Science”, “Hot Tub Time Machine” manages to create a hilariously raunchy comedy that any child of the 80's should feel right at home with. Sure the things that happen don't always make sense, but it's okay because it's funny.

Aside from the four main cast members, there are also appearances by Crispin Glover (“Back to the Future”) as a disgruntled one-armed bellhop, and William Zabka (“The Karate Kid”) as Rick the gambler. Of course the most prominent small role goes to Chevy Chase (“National Lampoon's Vacation”) as the repairman who offers cryptic advice to the guys that may be about the effects their actions will have on the future, or it may just be about fixing their hot tub.

This movie was clearly crafted by people who liked watching (or starring in) 80's comedies. Not only does it manage to blend a lot of the tropes of the movies of my childhood, but there are clear shout outs to films like “Sixteen Candles” sprinkled throughout the film. Sure there are things that are just wrong like a football game being played on the wrong date, or completely ignoring the concept of creating a temporal paradox, but we accepted that two nerds could create Kelly LeBrock using am MTX512 and that Michael J. Fox could time travel in a Delorean when we were younger, so we can accept this too.

Unlike a lot of the 80's comedies that this movie tries to recreate, this is not a family friendly film. Gross-out humour, cursing, sexual references, and nudity (mostly Rob Corddry's ass) as splashed over this film like butter-flavoured topping on your popcorn. Don't bring the young ones, they're not going to get half the jokes anyway.

While you could easily wait to pick this movie up as a rental there is a certain something about seeing this kind of comedy in a theater full of people that just adds to the experience. There's just something special about cringing at a scene of projectile vomiting with a hundred other people that you cannot recreate at home.

The plot is paper-thin, but the acting and writing make up for it. If you want to see a movie that is funnier than it has any right to be, and will make you long for the days of “Red Dawn” and cassette players, then I heartily recommend “Hot Tub Time Machine”. You can get tub'd in theaters starting March 26th.

Like zombies?
Check out ”Mallville – A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse”, my free ongoing blognovel.

No comments: