There hasn’t been much promotion for John Cusack’s latest work, Hot Tub Time Machine. If you are expecting an incredibly ludicrous premise for this film based on that title, then your expectations will be met. The story focuses on four guys; Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson), Lou (Rob Corddry), and Adam’s nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke). After Lou nearly does himself in after a night of drinking, on-again off-again friends Adam and Nick decide to take Lou to an old alpine lodge where the trio used to live up their younger days. Computer nerd Jacob tags along, much to Lou’s dismay, and is quickly unimpressed by the locale where his uncle claims to have had some of the best times of his life.
After a little technical difficulty with their room’s hot tub, the small band of friends parties it up in the outdoor appliance and find themselves in a very different place the next day. From pastel ski suits to jheri curl hairdos, these guys quickly become aware that something is definitely afoot. Beginning to realize that they need to relive their mistakes of the past to keep things right and get home to the future, Adam, Nick, and Lou put themselves back in some compromising positions they experienced in 1986. The concept is silly, the humor occasionally crude, the language foul, and I loved nearly every minute of it.
If you had any appreciation or understanding of the 80’s, you will get a lot of what’s in this film that is dotted with songs of that decade. I think a lot of the references will escape viewers in their mid-20’s and younger, but that aside, there’s still a fair amount of humor to be had and the dialogue often goes straight for the jugular. There is definitely a lack of restraint in their attempts to earn a laugh and that’s what makes this film a homerun. It’s not swearing just to swear or using a gross sex joke because they can. It’s using these tools creatively and with good timing that made me and everyone around me in the theater erupt into laughter too many times to count.
Another attribute of this film is that no one person really steals the show. There is a perfect blend of comedic talent and John Cusack (2012) reinforces his wide range of acting capabilities. Clark Duke (Kick-Ass), though obviously of a different age group than that of his co-workers in this film, added what became far more than a mere accent piece to the story. Corddry (Blades of Glory) is hilarious as the potty-mouthed, drunken friend while Robinson (The Office, Pineapple Express) brings forth a round of antics that both lead and compliment the story. Even Chevy Chase makes an appearance now and again just for good measure.
My advice to you is suspend disbelief, don’t hold your expectations above the moon and you will be pleasantly surprised. Hot Tub Time Machine is by far and away the funniest film I’ve seen since last year’s box office goliath, The Hangover. Don’t delay. Get out of your house, your apartment, your cave, wherever it is you live, and see this film. Don’t be one those, “I think I’m going to wait until it comes out on video” people. Do you need to laugh? Of course you do, we all do, and Hot Tub Time Machine is the perfect catalyst for your funny bone.