"It must be some kind of hot tub time machine..."
When Lou (Cordday) winds up in hospital after an accidental suicide attempt, his best friends from childhood Adam (Cusack) and Nick (Robinson) think they have to do something to cheer up their friend. They decide to return to their old stomping group up in the Rockies for some skiing, beer and girls and to introduce Adam nephew Jacob (Duke) to the best time of his life. When they get to Kodiak Valley Ski Resort, it isn’t how they quite remembered back in the 1980s. Making the most of it by getting extremely drunk, the four of them jump into the hot tub and drink some more. Waking up the next morning extremely hung over, the four head for the slopes only to be greeted by people wearing 80s clothes, listening to cassette players and sporting hairstyles that are over twenty years out of date. Returning to their room, Nick comes to the conclusion that they have traveled through time via a Hot Tub Time Machine.
Nostalgia can be a funny thing and when you reminisce about your younger heyday you thought then that would come have accomplished anything but what if you could go back and change something that would change your life, with comical repercussions?
High concept comedies have been coming thick and thin from Hollywood over the years. Outrageous, laugh-out-loud moments mixed with some science fiction, comic book, sporting, criminal or fantasy elements and you can, in some cases, achieve comedy gold. We have seen professional assassins fall in love, a boy in love take on seven super powered evil exes, a man save his girlfriend from a plague of rampaging zombies by hiding in his local pub, the list goes on and on but for ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ they take a concept that is truly, really out there and produce a riotous comedy.
The story is one that mixes science fiction with a premise that is just so silly that comedy is bound to result. Wanting to cheer up their friend Lou, Adam and Nick plan a road trip to the place where they enjoyed skiing, beer and beautiful girls in their glory days in the 80s. Dragging Adam’s reluctant nephew Jacob along for ride, the four head to the Kodiak Valley Ski Resort for the time of their lives but instead they discover that the resort hasn’t really made it through the economic downturn and isn’t the place the trio remembered. Getting drunk anyway, the four decide to get in their room’s hot tub but after a huge amount of alcohol, a super powered energy drink and an incident with a squirrel, they awake the next morning to find that the resort seems to have picked up. Little to they realise that they have in fact traveled through time back to their 80s heyday, looking that their much young selves, to everyone else, and getting the chance to relive their time all over again. Stupid, outrageous but filled with comedic potential that, for the most part, is achieved.
This is because of the excellent cast. 80s heartthrob and all around cool guy John Cusack makes a welcome return to comedy as Adam, a guy who just keeps getting dumped by a succession of girlfriends. This is Cusack back on form after a run of miss hits in ‘1408’, ‘War, Inc’, ‘The Contract’, ‘The Ice Harvest’ and the completely over the top ‘2012’ and it is great to see him doing comedy again. Craig Robinson is a fantastic comedy actor who you will recognise from ‘Knocked Up’, ‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’, ‘Pineapple Express’ and ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’ and as Nick Webber he is coming to terms with his wife cheating on him. Rob Corddry is one of those actors who you remember but can’t quite place but his performance as Lou, the downtrodden former party animal, is one that will live in your memory for a very long time. Clark Duke is a young comedic actor who steals many a film that he graces with ‘Sex Drive’ all the better for his presence. Throw in a couple of 80s legends in Crispin Glover as doorman Phil and the immortal Chevy Chase as the mysterious Repairman and you have a cast made for comedy.
‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ is so stupid that is it great. With some genuine laugh out loud moments, great performances and a premise that is so unbelievable that it works. With the excesses of the 80s, from the bright coloured clothes to the dreadfully styled hair and a soundtrack including ‘INXS’, ‘Spandau Ballet’, ‘Poison’, ‘Talking Heads’, ‘Salt-N-Pepa’, ‘Public Enemy’ and ‘Motley Crue’, this is an outrageous comedy that you cannot help but enjoy and one that you will watch time and time again.
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