MOVIE: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

When I first heard the title of this movie, I confess I was horrified — horrified that something that sounded so incredibly stupid could possibly have been turned into a film.  I’ve been ranting a lot lately about how we’re not paying real writers anymore, we’re just spending money on crap like Avatar that’s all visuals and no story.  And now we have a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine?!  Great gods on fire.  Someone PAID for that?  They did?  They DID?  They did.  Okay, fine.  They did.  I’ll be in this corner over here weeping for the cultural losses of my non-existent children.

But then it occurred to me — who names their movie Hot Tub Time Machine?  I mean, really.  Who does that?  The only person who would do that is someone who is absolutely crazy — or someone who is absolutely crazy LIKE A FOX.

That takes some boldness, writing and then marketing a movie with a title and concept that unbelievably lame.  That movie has got to have something.  It’s got to have SOMETHING, right?  It’s got to be intentionally bad — some kind of mocking of badness.  Satire?  Spoof?  A clever, daring  mockery of badness.   And that could be good.  Unless it’s really really bad, of course.  Oh good lord, quandary.  Quandary, people.

Tuesday night, I was thinking of going to see Repo Men, but at the last minute decided I probably needed a comedy more than I needed a gory drama about what will happen to America without our much-needed health care reform (that’s what Repo Men is about, right?).  So, I decided now might be the time to gamble on HHTM.  What have I got to lose, after all?  I mean, besides seven dollars AND MY SOUL?  At the very least, I’ll get to see how John Cusack’s crow’s feet are turning out.

As it turns out, I made the right choice.  Because not only is Hot Tub Time Machine pretty successfully hilarious (at times, anyway), it’s also just plain fun.

The movie’s story is as dumb as you imagined — it’s about a group of three middle-aged pals whose friendship has been withering for the last decade or so while they been elbows-deep in the mundane elements of grown-up life.  When one of them passes out in a car with the engine running and nearly dies, the other two decide to stage an intervention.  They pack him up and take him, themselves, and Cusack’s younger nephew (played by 20-something Clark Duke, who I’m madly in love with now, I should add) to the ski resort where they had one of the best weekends of their lives.  Back in 1986, when they were “young. . . had momentum. . .were winning.”

Something goes wrong, though, and during a night of great debauchery, someone knocks a Russian Red Bull knock-off onto the controls of the hot tub, and bang zoom whirl ziiiiip!  They wake up the next morning in. . . 1986!

You can pretty much take it from there.  Dumb things happen.  They learn important lessons about priorities and dreams.  They make it back home just fine.  Their lives have improved ten-fold.

What I liked about this movie is that it is absolutely unoriginal in just about every single way.  ON PURPOSE.   That’s sort of what makes it so original.  Don’t ask me what I mean.  I felt like this movie was making fun of itself a good 99% of the time.  And then making fun of Crispin Glover for the other 1%.  Which, yeah.  Can you think of a better way to spend 100 minutes?  Me neither.  Was it the funniest movie I’ve ever seen?  Not even close.  But I laughed out loud more than once, and, you know what?  That was a tonic sorely needed.

By the way, Mr. Glover, while I have you on the line here, what is your secret?  John Cusack looks like a haggard great-grandfather standing next to you.  What is it you are putting on your skin, sir?  And where can I get a bottle?

p.s. Confidential to Clark Duke:  You are way too young for me.  In ten years, though, when you’ve grown into your cheeks a bit, you should totally give me a call.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Comedy
Cast:  John Cusack, Crispin Glover!, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Chevy Chase, Clark Duke (love!)

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8 Responses to “MOVIE: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)”

  1. Jessie Says:

    This movie looks dumb,
    But we all know in six months
    I’ll watch anyway.

  2. Brenda S. Says:

    Your write-up hits the nail on the head. I fully enjoyed the flick, especially the music. (Yes, love my ’80s music and I’m not ashamed at all!) Of course, I went with what is called around our house as the “Pauly Shore Expectation” – set your sites low and it will be fine.

    What DOES Crispin Glover use on his skin? And how does he maintain such a nice jawline? (Kind of have a thing for those.)

    Also, did you recognize the fellow against whom they gambled? Not 10 minutes prior in the movie, my hubby turned to me and said that was the _____ _____ character. We completely busted up when, lo and behold, _____ _____ shows up. (I won’t spoil it for your fans who have not yet shared in the fun.)

    Nothing like some good, dumb fun!

  3. Rochelle Says:

    When they said Joan Cusack, I said maybe. When they said cameo by POISON! I said Hell yeah! Just when I was reconsidering, I read your review. Now that I know it only sucks on purpose, I’m actually thinking about a matinee during my upcoming vacation. I am normally too cheap for even that.

  4. megwood Says:

    Brenda, YES! Oh my god, I was laughing so hard and SO glad to see him!! That was totally awesome.

    Rochelle, go see it! Well worth matinee costs!

  5. Liz Says:

    “Hot Tub Time Machine?”
    Right number of syllables,
    But I just saw “Moon!”

  6. Trip Says:

    That reminds me:

    Of all the film reviews out there for Repo Men, I have yet to read ONE that includes even a passing mention of the Live Organ Transplants skit in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

    Isn’t Repo Men merely a serious sci-fi take on that skit? Sure sounds that way to me…

  7. zini Says:

    Husband and I saw it in hopes of having another Nacho Libre experience. Not quite, I’m afraid, but we had a great time nonetheless. I think Crispin Glover’s secret is that he has looked older even in his teens, all those angles makes for one ageless mug. He’s just grown into ’em.

  8. TC Says:

    I take it you all didn’t get the joke of the movie

    Watch closely and look for the clues and you’ll realize that everything was just a fantasy in Lou’s head as he was dying of carbon monoxide poisoning. There were things in the movie that were dead on but others were purposely wrong.

    The capper was Lou as Vince Neil in Motley Lou. Since Motley Crue didn’t break up until the 90s and Home Sweet Home was released in the Summer of 85 it would have been impossible for Lou to become the lead singer and make the video. Lou idolized Vince Neil and the Crue, and the song Home Sweet Home reminded him of a time in his life before everything turned to crap. The final scene where Lou smiles in the camera then gives everyone the finger was symbolic that the suicide was indeed successful.

    The reason for the stupidity surrounding the time traveling hot tub becomes obvious. If your on your way out, and wanting to fantasize about going back in time to when you were happiest your not going to invent time machine based on Einstein. Your going to go with whatever works no mater how dumb.

    Thats just my opinion. I could be wrong thanks to the really good bud I smoked but more than likely I’m right.

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