I’ve never wanted to get naked and jump in a Hot Tub Time Machine with 4 other naked guys before, but hey, things change. I had an opportunity to see an advance screening of this comedic farce with a group of people who clearly were the target audience. Namely, people who know the 80s and like it. Since the trailer I’ve known this would be a great careless ride with John Cusack and some of my favorite up and coming actors: Craig Robinson (Daryl from “The Office”) and Clark Duke.
The setup is fairly simple: a few guys a little past their prime wind up back in the 80s during one of their most influential weekends at a Colorado Resort. With this power, comes great responsibility.
Why you’ll like it:
Ridiculous, non-sensical over the top humor loaded with 80s references
There’s a lot that make this film work, the actors involved are pretty sharp and according to Steve Pink (the director) there was a lot of improv. But mostly, there’s gobs of 80s throwback references, so many in fact that I’m sure I probably missed half of them, but the most obvious one has to be Crispin Glover (a nod to George McFly) from “Back to the Future” fame, and anyone who ruins this storyline deserves the firing squad. I also loved the way it handled the most basic time travel question of “What would you do?” with raunch humor and giving the middle finger to traditional time theory movies, it made me feel like the decisions I would pick were being picked for me.
Probably my only real rub of the entire movie is Rob Corddry. While he wasn’t altogether awful, he had several lines that had me in stitches, but for the most part he came on way too strong and forceful in his approach. I don’t need humor yelled at me, and no one depicts the perfect balance of subtle humor better than Craig Robinson. Even though his part seems a tad more minimal, he kills it and delivers plenty of underhanded zingers.
Why you won’t like it:
Somewhat low-brow comedy (minus fart jokes). You’ll need a sense of humor and appreciation for high-top fades and loud colors.
The cast is half of what really makes this thing tick, Chevy Chase playing the mysterious handyman and Clark Duke holding his own against more veteran actors. The other half is without a doubt all the laced in references, ranging from Sixteen Candles to Karate Kid, some subtle and some not so subtle, it’s all excellent. Doesn’t necessarily need to be seen in theaters, it’s most important to see this with friends who get the material, because if you do then you’ll travel right back with them.
3.5 Stars (out of 5)
Starring: John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Crispin Glover, Chevy Chase
Director: Steve Pink
Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.
Release Date: March 26, 2010
Reviewed by: Wes Hemings