By Chauncey Telese
Sometimes all you need in life is a great title in order to get people interested. This is a basic marketing principle that applies no matter what you’re selling because even if the product is lousy, the name alone can mean automatic profits (think snuggie). In movies and entertainment for that matter, a title can create buzz on its own; “Snakes on a Plane”, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”, “The Hangover”, or the title of one of my favorite books “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.”
Well, this is the case with “Hot Tub Time Machine.” The title alone got me interested, then as I saw trailers and commercials my interest peaked. Now unlike the snuggie, this movie not only has a great title but it also happens to be an absolutely great product.
To some, this movie seems stupid. In fact Michael Wilbon on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” has called this movie “junk,” and I have endured more than my fair share of eye-rolling from others when I’ve expressed my interest in this movie. But trust me, this is a lot of fun, especially if you’re a fan of 80’s movies.
The movie is about three friends: the self absorbed Adam (John Cusak), the whipped married guy Nick (Craig Robinson “Pineapple Express”, “The Office”), the scumbag Lou (Rob Corddry “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” “What Happens in Vegas”), and Adam’s nerdy nephew Jacob (Clark Duke, “Superbad”, the upcoming “Kick Ass”, and the criminally under-seen “Sex Drive”).
The guys go up to the Kodiak Ski Resort following Lou’s accidental suicide attempt (you read right) and find out the place is a dump. Well, after a night of drinking in their hotel room hot tub, they wake up in 1986 during a weekend that would later define their lives.
To everyone in 1986, the guys look just as they did in 1986 (but to themselves they look normal) and Adam looks the same because he hadn’t been born yet, although his life begins this fateful weekend as well. At first, Adam convinces them to do exactly what they did in 1986 in order to make sure the future turns out the same. This includes Lou getting beat up by the ski patrol, Adam breaking up with his girlfriend, and Nick performing (he used to be a singer) at a ski party. However, they realize that the events of this weekend are what caused their lives to be as bad as they are so they take this as a chance to fix the nature of their existence.
This movie is absolutely hilarious. We get to see every rule of time travel established and broken with great nods to “Back to the Future” and other time travel movies. John Cusak gets to return to his 80’s roots and the idea of him at a ski resort brings up fond memories of “Better off Dead.” In an icing-on-the-cake moment, his character gets his heart broken and almost goes into “Say Anything” mode.
Aside from Cusak, the rest of the movie is comprised of bench players in other comedy movies who get their chance to shine. The MVP of this movie is Rob Corddry, who is given the best lines and at the end changes the future in a unique way. Chevy Chase (who’s great every Thursday on NBC’S “Community”), shows up as the cryptic hot tub repair man who may or may not have the answers for getting back to 2010. For me though, the best part of this movie was Crispin Glover’s cameo as the bellhop, and the great running joke through out the movie that never gets old.
The movie was written by Sean Anders and Josh Heald who wrote “She’s Out of My League” and “Sex Drive,” and was directed by Steve Pink who wrote two of Cusak’s best movies in “Gross Pointe Blank” and “High Fidelity,” so despite the somewhat adolescent title, you know you’re in good hands.
If you don’t like 80’s movies, John Cusak or hot tubs, I would also like to suggest “How to Train Your Dragon,” a movie I also really liked. I would’ve covered that too, but there was no way I could ignore a movie called “Hot Tub Time Machine,” NO WAY!
If that doesn’t sound enticing then there is also “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, and “The Bounty Hunter” with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler.
Thank You for reading and remember you can see these and other fine films at our local Edwards/Regal cinemas – click here for show times.