Hot Tub Time Machine Review
Thereís a new, unwritten law of comedy that says something like, Ďa middle-aged cast in a youngsterís situation is always funny.í This was proved massively by the runaway success of last yearís The Hangover, with other, less successful attempts like Old School and anything with Vince Vaughn. So now itís John Cusackís turn to take a trip back to his youth and while the results arenít quite as stunning as last yearís effort, itís still a damn funny journey.
Adam (Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Lou (Rob Courddry) are three friends whose lives have taken a turn for the worst. Adamís girlfriend has moved out, Nick gave up everything for a wife who doesnít appreciate him and Lou is a party animal twenty years past his prime. Adamís nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) lives in his basement playing Second Life all the time and to top it all off, the friendship of the four is breaking down.
After a party night accidentally looks like a suicide attempt, Lou is taken to hospital, where Adam and Nick promise to take him away for a weekend, back to the wildest place they know Ė ski resort Kodiak Valley, the place they spent their 80ís heydays. Unfortunately, the town has taken a turn for the worse and it looks like going there was a mistake. That is, until they all get drunk in a hot tub and wake up in 1986, given a second chance to relive all their glories and failures a second time.
While it might seem like a fairly lame concept for a film, Hot Tub Time Machine manages to charm with its three excellent, well developed and flawed protagonists. Adam battles the power of destiny, trying to figure out exactly when and where he went wrong in his life and trying to avoid it. Nick tries to overcome his crushing fear of being hurt by his wife, while simultaneously having to relive the night he had sex with a groupie. Lou must once again go through his darkest period as he gets his arse repeatedly handed to him by a jerk-off ski patrol douchebag.
The dilemma itself is great Ė if you could go back and change the past, would you do it, knowing that it could have dire consequences for you in the present? Lou and Nick turn into sports hustlers in a truly convincing way while Adam tries to figure out why it was that he broke up with a fun, stunning and sexy girl (and got stabbed in the eye with a fork).
The weak link, disappointingly, is Clark Dukeís Jacob. While the actor is genuinely hilarious (see also Sex Drive and Kick Ass), here he isnít really given anything to do except try and get the guys to not mess up the time-space continuum, which is really disappointing given how funny he is throughout the first half of the film.
Also, the highly amusing repeated appearances of comedy legend Chevy Chase as the hot tub repair man are great, but they donít feel as though they are actually paid off in any significant way Ė the gag is missing its punchline.
Still, those issues are not enough to drag down the rest of the film, which is consistently hilarious, heartwarming and deeply satisfying throughout. Itís both a nostalgic trip back to a decade of big hair, pastel colours and awesome music and a journey to the soul of the people who lived it. At once retro and brand new, Hot Tub Time Machine is a cracking experience that deserves to be seen. And this is probably the only film youíll ever see where you want to watch a man lose his arm.