Review: Hot Tub Time Machine

Posted February 27th, 2010 at 9:29 am

There is something endearing about how Hot Tub Time Machine is completely upfront about its ridiculous scenario and the events that take place throughout. The cast is likable and the 80s setting is refreshing and nostalgic. There are some big laughs here but it just swings and misses a little too often to put it in the class with some of the more highly regarded comedies released in the last few years.

The main characters in Hot Tub Time Machine have reached a point in their lives where they feel like their chance at happiness has passed them by. In an attempt to relive some of the good times when they were younger they head to the ski resort that was the setting for some of their best memories. There they come across a hot tub which, surprisingly, transports them back to 1986. Not just have they moved back in time but they have replaced their younger selves. There they hope to avoid the “butterfly effect” by doing everything they had done before while trying to find a way back to the present.

Starring John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, and Clark Duke the cast provides a different feel than what has become the norm recently. This isn’t an Apatow film though it has clearly borrowed some of what has been proven to be successful as well as having a similar formula as last year’s The Hangover. The ensemble cast has good chemistry, with much of the dialogue having been improvised, and there are some fun cameos and smaller roles which deliver laughs.

This is the perfect type of film to see with friends and in packed theaters. Reaction at the screening seemed really positive and the laughter was contagious. It should play well to the younger crowd and those who remember the 80s fondly. Older moviegoers may not find the humor all that to their liking. Clearly though that isn’t the audience that HTTM was aiming for.

As someone who grew up in the 80s the nostalgia added to my enjoyment of the film. Everything from the clothing, to the lack of technology, the way people talked, and especially the music were fun to experience again along with the characters. There are some homages to film making from the time as well in how the movie is shot and the way certain characters acted which got me pretty good.

Hot Tub Time Machine is an enjoyable movie that isn’t consistently funny but has some hilarious moments that make it worthwhile. In no way does it live up to some of the better comedies as of late such as The Hangover or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. However it does have a really light vibe that comes from the cast which was clearly having fun and the story, not meant to be taken seriously by anyone, that differentiates it nicely from anything that has hit theaters in quite some time.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Hot Tub Time Machine opens in theaters on March 26th.