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REVIEW: Hot Tub Time Machine

C'mon in! The water feels fine

Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine

  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • (L-R) John Cusack as Adam and Lizzy Caplan as April in "Hot Tub Time Machine."
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Hot Tub Time Machine is in the running for the worst four-word movie title in history. It’s up against Snakes on a Plane, Dude, Where's My Car? and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (or, does that count as seven words?).

At least with a title like Hot Tub Time Machine, you don’t have that moment standing in front of the movie poster wondering what it’s about. It’s right there in the title. And with that R rating right there in the corner, you know it will be raunchy.

It’s strange that John Cusack would produce and star in a movie like this. You have to think he heard the title, and thought he was going to be forced to hold up a boom box like he did in Say Anything.

Instead of the great 80s songs by people like Peter Gabriel and U2, we hear a lot of Motley Crue and Poison. And I have to admit, those bands work wonderfully in this film; especially the Motley Crue video during the closing credits, which rivals the hilarity of the closing in The Hangover.

It’s strange that critics all think The Hangover was a better film. Am I the only person that was a bit disappointed by Hangover? Will I lose credibility admitting I laughed out loud at least 10 times in Hot Tub? And it’s not because this movie deals with guys traveling back to when it was my senior year in high school – 1986.

When things started off with jokes about a time when Michael Jackson was “still black” and Jheri Curl, legwarmers, and “Relax” T-shirts were in…I didn’t think things looked promising.

When the hot tub shined with a golden hue…I figured it could be yet another bodily function joke (the movie had about four too many). The guys were all drinking in the hot tub. Or, it could be like the mysterious gold shine in the suit case of Pulp Fiction.

I was thinking they should grab Chevy Chase, who plays the wily hot tub repairman, and bring him back to the '80s – A time when he was actually funny!

Another '80s actor popped up -- Crispin Glover, who I just saw in Alice in Wonderland. He pops up as the one-armed bellhop. It’s brilliant casting, since he not only played in an '80s time travel movie (Back to the Future), but his facial expressions when he comes close to having his arm lopped off, are priceless. Those scenes will have the entire theatre laughing with the dark, sadistic anticipation Rob Corddry had.

And how has Corddry become such a brilliant comedic actor? Sure, he was always a treat on The Daily Show, but he flat out steals this movie. Not an easy feat when you have the comedic talent of Craig Robinson, who is always great as the straight man (I’m happy to see him getting a bigger role in The Office).

John Cusack is good, but I have to say, I’m getting tired of critics praising him and George Clooney in everything they do. They play the same character every time.

I heard a scientist in an interview 20 years ago talking about how every time travel movie has flaws. Ya think? But in a crazy comedy like this, you let a lot of that stuff go. I was more impressed that they addressed one of my movie pet peeves. It’s when you have a group of friends, and one is a jerk. I always wonder why the other guys would hang around the person. This movie addresses that and even the fact that because of the characters attitude, they don’t hang around with him as much as they used to.

Listen…there are going to be critics saying this is one of those raunchy movies like Porky’s, and they’ll dismiss it. Other critics are going to use the latest catchphrase (“bromantic road trip”). They’ll compare it to The Hangover, which is fair. After all, they are four guys, with one nerd, going out of town. All of whom seem to have problems with the women in their lives. And doing things they aren’t going to tell their wives about (and debating whether it’s cheating if it’s 1986 and not 2010).

Ignore those critics. If the name of the movie piqued your interest, you’ll love it. If you were a tad reluctant, you’ll be surprised you love it. If you think guys going back in time, sleeping with women, losing fights to James Spader look alikes, and doing disgusting gags isn’t your thing…well, it’s not mine either. That’s why it baffles me to recommend this movie.

And not because I sat there saying “That’s what I’d do. I’d bet on sports events.”

The simple fact is, this movie is a crazy comedy. They throw everything out there, and most of it works. Even a scene that I thought was so disgusting and over the top, ended up not being as gross when you see the punchline.

There’s the best cameo by a marmot since Flea dropped a ferret in the bathtub with Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski.

See this movie. I give it a B on the raunchy road-trip film scale.