Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine

A group of friends travel back to the Eighties and suddenly realise how much they've grown apart from not only each other, but from their true selves - and there's blowjobs, drinking and fighting too. Wooo!

A comedy for the boys, this rose-tinted nostalgic look back at the Eighties is full of gross-out humour, fraternal love but most of all, sentimentality. Craig Robinson (Daryl from The Office) plays Nick who was once a singer but now is just a doormat to his cheating wife, Clark Duke (mainly known for being in Kick-Ass and Greek) plays a geeky nephew who spends almost all of his time online, Rob Corddry (a recognisable face as a bit player in other films) is a self-destructive mess and John Cusack plays Adam, who cannot seem to hold his life together for more than five minutes.

The group seem to all be unhappy with their current situation and after Corddry's character Lou tries to subconsciously off himself, they decide to return to the ski resort where times were better. After some crazy drunk antics, they wake up to find themselves trapped in their former bodies (Quantum Leap style) in 1986 - after some great cultural references they realise that they don't want to do anything different or it could lead to some crazy results. Duke's Jacob emphasises this point as he is starting to disappear Back-To-The-Future style. Which is strange because Crispin Glover is in it as a man who is set to lose one arm. Why isn't Glover in more stuff?! Also, it looks like he hasn't aged since Back To The Future was released in 1985 and he's great in every part he plays. Okay, okay, I'm deviating I know ...

So when they start to realise they can change things for the better, they start to do it. From standing up to bullies, not dumping your perfect looking girlfriend to gambling and getting into threesomes, the group regresses and feel all the better for it. Meanwhile, Jacob is trying to get them all to stop changing the future in case he is gone for good and Chevy Chase walks in and out as some kind of Doctor Who - which is actually quite funny. Overall, they start to see that they have started to lose touch with each other and realise what friends are for. However, without ruining the story, once you see the ending, you realise they haven't really learnt anything at all and instead of working at something to make it better, instead it all just falls into place which is essentially lazy writing. But this is the main problem throughout the film, the set pieces aren't really that great, the ending doesn't really make sense and I'm a bit lost to the point of it all now, which is a shame because it could have worked better than it did.

Saying that, I did enjoy it. It was quite funny, but it was more for what seemed like improvisation rather than the script. John Cusack, who I'm not a great fan of anyway (and I still don't understand why some people are) is boring as fuck as the main protagonist, his character is just as tiresome as his acting and I have no idea why the story centres around him. The fact that director Steve Pink is a friend of his and that he produced it means that he had the ability to let someone more suited for the role to be cast, but selfishly chose himself. He really does ruin it for me as he's as bland as the snow it is set in, it's just lucky that the other characters make up for it. For what could have been a fantastic look back at an age of indulgence and fun, instead it relies on this and some crude jokes to keep it going. It wasn't promising much I realise by being called Hot Tub Time Machine, but I was expecting more than this. It's nice to take a dip in, it makes you feel warm but once you leave it? You're as cold and wet as ever.

Rating: 6/10

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