Review: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Directed by: Steve Pink
Starring: John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corrdry

Following the recent success of The Hangover, it can be safely assumed that several aspiring filmmakers will attempt to cash in on this aimless comedy genre in order to potentially make a name for themselves. Fortunately for us, Hot Tub Time Machine has arrived well before the formula’s been beaten half to death, allowing us as viewers to enjoy it to the fullest. Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that the plot, quite literally, goes nowhere. Providing you’ve seen at least one of the trailers, you can pretty much gather everything you need to know before even entering the theater. Hearing this, one would naturally assume that the film relies solely on nonstop laughs and outlandish occurrences to compensate for the glaring flaws in its narrative, and Hot Tub Time Machine does just this, not once letting up so as to direct our attention elsewhere.

The only qualm I had with the film’s “take it or leave it” attitude was, as silly as it sounds, its pacing. Given how predictable yet borderline endless the possibilities are regarding the script, it seems natural that director Pink would find it suiting to cram ten pounds of crap into a one pound bag in an attempt to procure laugh after laugh. Even though the plot is as relevant as a fly on the wall throughout the film’s duration, some minor details do get lost in the fray, and coupled with the time traveling aspect, one’s bound to say to themselves “WTF?!” in between uncontrolled fits of laughter. In the end though, these flaws are almost wholly forgivable, even when things get a little sappy in the latter act.

Another reason why Hot Tub Time Machine succeeds where other films of its type assuredly won’t is its simply stellar cast. From start to finish, the efforts of all involved are truly something to behold, Corrdry and Cusack especially. In fact, I didn’t even know Corrdry had it in him, and the chemistry he exhibits with every single one of his co-stars is absolutely fantastic and almost worth the price of admission alone. Combine the efforts of the film’s leads with equally entertaining supporting roles from Crispin Glover and Lizzy Caplan, and you have yourselves one hell of a good time.

Now although I enjoyed this film a whole lot more than I thought I would, it’s hard to acknowledge a film centered around time travel via a hot tub as a wholly respectable piece of cinema. Furthermore, older audiences might have a hard time appreciating the film’s excessive vulgarity, one-track mentality and lack of substance, but if you’re looking for a jolly good time at the theater, Hot Tub Time Machine is the way to go. Just keep an open mind.

Rating: 6/10

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