Hot Tub Time Machine Review
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Since I grew up in the ‘80s, I often find myself reminiscing about the good old days of movies—when things were simple and carefree…and when sweet, lovable losers like John Cusack could get their hearts broken but still come out on top before the credits rolled. And sometimes, when I’m watching the latest outrageous comedy, I miss Better Off Dead. Fortunately, though, thanks to director Steve Pink, I’ve finally found a movie that mixes outrageous 21st-century comedy with plenty of retro ‘80s flair.

In Hot Tub Time Machine, John Cusack heads up a cast of down-and-out misfits who find themselves on an unexpected journey back to the ‘80s. When wild-and-crazy Lou (Rob Corddry) has a brush with death (which may or may not have been intentional), his old friends, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Adam (Cusack), are called in to keep an eye on him for a few days.

  
 
Nick and Adam decide to relive their glory days by taking Lou—and Adam’s nerdy nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke)—to their favorite old hangout for the weekend. When they arrive in Kodiak Valley, though, they find that the years have not been kind—and the only thing left to do is crack open a few bottles and party in the hot tub. But when Lou’s energy drink shorts out the controls, something goes horribly wrong.

The guys get up the next morning and discover that they’ve been transported back to 1986—with no way of getting back. Until they can fix their broken hot tub time machine, they’ve got to do exactly what they did back then—to keep from changing the course of history.

Just like its ridiculous title, Hot Tub Time Machine is unabashedly, unapologetically silly. From beginning to end, it fully accepts—and embraces—its own absurdity. It never takes itself too seriously, and it never tries to be anything more than an outrageously kooky comedy—and thank goodness for that. Though it’s crude and corny and often completely over-the-top, the laughs are nearly non-stop.

Though the story isn’t exactly original, it offers an amusing twist on the same old time travel movie (particularly where Crispin Glover’s one-armed bellhop is concerned). Better yet, it’s filled with exaggerated ‘80s nostalgia, reminiscing about the good old days—while, at the same time, remembering just how silly they were. In fact, half of the fun is in picking out the film’s plethora of ‘80s references—from the cheesy ‘80s music and overstated retro fashion to subtle allusions to ’80s movies like Sixteen Candles and Better Off Dead. And there’s something strangely satisfying about watching ‘80s rom-com icon Cusack once again play the lovable teen loser—only, this time, in a grown man’s body, drowning his sorrows in gloomy poetry and a whole lot of drugs.

It may not be a flawless comedy (and the writers must have failed either math or biology—because I’m pretty sure that it’s biologically impossible for a 20-year-old to have been conceived in 1986), but Hot Tub Time Machine is a whole lot of zany, retro fun—and it’s even funnier than last summer’s big comedy hit, The Hangover. So if you’re in the mood for some brainless laughs—and you love ‘80s comedies as much as I do—step into the Hot Tub and enjoy this absurdly hilarious blast from the past.


DVD Review:
We may be well into the summer movie season (which, traditionally, is a great time of the year for both action and comedy), but the funniest comedy of the year is still one that was released back in March. Maybe that says something about the quality of the movies we’re seeing this year—it has, after all, been a pretty mediocre year—but Hot Tub Time Machine isn’t just a so-so release in a year full of ho-hum comedies. It really is hilarious—the kind of movie that’s just what the doctor ordered after a long, exhausting work week.

If you’re looking for a whole bunch of wild and crazy extras, though, you might be disappointed by the film’s DVD release. The DVD includes both the theatrical version and a slightly longer unrated version of the film. The additions, though, are barely noticeable—and not nearly as outrageous as you might expect. Other extras include nine deleted/extended/alternate scenes and a collection of trailers.

Of course, the movie itself is still well worth watching. And if you’ve already seen it, it’s well worth watching again—because you’re sure to pick up on even more of jokes. But if you’re looking for more than just the basic extras, I recommend springing for the more feature-filled Blu-ray release instead.

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