Hot Tub Time Machine
Hollywood is running out of ideas again. How do I know? One of the clearest indicators is that the studios, having exhausted the supply of classic or even sub-par television shows to remake have now turned to a Mad Libs-style creative process in order to come up with film concepts. What better way to produce an entertaining movie than to string some seemingly random words together, base a script around them and then hire whoever needs the money to pay for rehab to star in these surefire hits?
Hot off the world-changing success of Snakes On A Plane, it was time to apply this Dada-esque strategy to a comedy and the result was Hot Tub Time Machine. If you say that title three times in front of a mirror, Candyman-style, you won’t get transported back in time like the film’s retarded protagonists, but you do run the risk of causing a vein to rupture inside your brain from the stupidity of the concept and effectively wipe out your memories of the past 25 years. Which is pretty much like time travel, only without the need to drive your Delorean into a hot tub.
Because honestly, who the fuck wants to revisit the 80’s? Three losers in this movie, played by John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry get to travel back to a ski vacation weekend from their final year of high school, dragging a reluctant nephew along with them to 1986. Said nephew then of course spends the entire time pointing out how awful everything about the 80’s really was, and he’s right - Day-Glo colors, enormous hair and music that relied more on its sense of style than sense of rhythm are all present and accounted for in this movie, rising up from the forgotten past like some kind of John Hughes marathon on VH1 seen through a shaggy hangover.
Of course, along with the played-out fashions and tired expressions there’s the need the recycle as many washed-up 80’s actors as possible to provide that continuity that Hot Tub Time Machine’s target demographic (kids who are too young to remember even the 90’s) are going for. We are treated to winners like Crispin Glover and Chevy Chase, actors who have fallen so far outside of popular conscience that they should have been forced to wear name tags to help the audience understand the novelty of their casting. I can only imagine the uncomfortable scenes that took place between takes as each of those has-beens gazed longingly at Cusack, secretly wondering how he managed to escape the 80’s comedy hell that they themselves never managed to shake.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Hot Tub Time Machines boils down to a few very simple, very easy to understand points. If you love movies where men shout profanity at each other on an almost continuous basis, while occasionally being forced into either fellatio or stripping off all of their clothes in the presence of other men, then you will probably want to watch this twice. However, if you actually remember the 80’s, then you’ll understand when I tell you that sitting through this film is as depressing as watching Reagan get re-elected over and over and over again.
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