Friday, March 26, 2010

Hot Tub Time Machine
And We'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun Till A Chevy Takes The Hot Tub Away

Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, John Cusack and Rob Corddry in "Hot Tub Time Machine", directed by Steve Pink.  

By Omar P.L. Moore/        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW 
Friday, March 26, 2010

Hot, scandalous and incorrect, Steve Pink's stark-raving riotous "Hot Tube Time Machine" will have you in stitches.  The film is clever, cheeky and outrageous.  Mr. Pink's smart comedy caper follows the misfortunes of four men in 2010 who jump into a hot tub, drink, drink, drink and -- voila! -- are transported back to 1986.

The quartet emulate "Back To The Future" type know-how, but what distinguishes this new film from Mr. Zemeckis' adventure are the comedic twists and wink-wink savvy of its characters and screenplay, written by Josh Heald (based on his story), Sean Anders and John Morris.  The film's fluid comic energy almost never stops.  There's a story here too and satire that makes "Hot Tub" -- a venerable look at 1980s fixtures, clichés, buzz-words and styles -- a better-than-admirable effort.

Perfectly cast, John Cusack, himself an 80s staple ("Hot Tub" nudges the actor's "Say Anything"), plays straight man to the three other never-grow-old men.  Mr. Cusack is Adam, who harbors a fear or two.  Craig Robinson is Nick, who has a complex about the woman in his life.  Mr. Robinson is notable here.  Clark Duke is the video-game obsessed Jacob, and Rob Corddry, a memorable cut-up as Lou, goes all-out to entertain.  All four have a rhythm and comic timing that exudes the kind of silliness, frantic folly and nervous energy seen in films like "Animal House" and "Porky's", both of which "Hot Tub" strives to emulate.

There are at least two women in Mr. Pink's film who make sense and aren't foolish, even for the 1980s of this 2010 film.  Now there's progress!  Of course there are many male and female characters who parade vacuity, but the spirit of "Hot Tub Time Machine" is hardly mean. 

It's marathon maniacal.

A comic punch-line that rivets and keeps us howling is the matter of one hotel employee (Crispin Glover).  The film sustains the character's circumstances both effortlessly and hilariously, and it's a tribute to the actors involved and the film's writers for plunging in head-long and digging as deep as they can unabashed, plowing right through any STOP or DANGER signs.

Watching "Hot Tub Time Machine", which exudes juvenile joy and flashes a Terrell Davis-like salute to a decade that's easily lampooned in the movies, you sense that the film's creators feel like living there all over again, right now.  Where other similar movies flounder, this one succeeds in producing the flavors of the 1980s and mixing the ingredients of 2010 for a cocktail of comedy, crude and chaotic.

You can picture it: high-top fades, big hair, leg-warmers, synthesized music.  Why the heck not?  At least for two hours.  You won't be sorry.  But you will be laughing.

With: Lizzy Caplan, Sebastian Stan, Lyndsy Fonseca, Chevy Chase, Charlie McDermott, Collette Wolfe, Crystal Lowe, Kellee Stewart, Julia Maxwell, Geoff Gustafson, Rob LaBelle, Jessica Paré, Jacob Blair.   

"Hot Tub Time Machine" is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and pervasive language.  The film's running time is one hour and 50 minutes.

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Unscripted review of "Hot Tub Time Machine":

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