Hot Tub Time Machine - Blu-ray Review

'The Hangover but with John Cusack'

John Cusack and the eighties. As combinations go it's a pretty solid one. Grosse Pointe Blank may have been released in 1997 but its aesthetic and the fact that much of the time is spent reminiscing about Martin Blank's school days is rooted in eighties culture and schoolboy larks.

Familiar territory then for Hot Tub Time Machine which again seeks to put an older Cusack back in the decade where he belongs with help from some schoolboy-esque larks. If you've read the title then you can guess the story, a fact which director Steve Pink is reliant upon in a very short explanatory segment which has Adam's nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) musing whether he 'really [has] to be the asshole who says we got in this thing and went back in time' whilst Nick (Craig Robinson) turns to the camera and declares the contraption 'some kind of... hot tub time machine'. It's both self-referential and self-aware and the refreshing brevity and light-heartedness with which Pink treats his obviously fantastical material is welcome and immediately hilarious.

After the fast start and the early snappy dialogue between Jacob and Lou (Rob Corddry), screenwriters Josh Heald, Sean Anders and John Morris are under pressure to continue to deliver the goods. In Lou though - the foul-mouthed, over-the-top, constantly in trouble member of the group - they've written a character for an actor who can deliver almost constant expletives and still make it funny, even when he's referring to the suicide attempt that led the group to be in a ski resort in the first place; 'If I wanted to kill myself, I'd fucking kill myself. I'd be awesome at it. A shotgun to the dick.' The jokes flow and ebb well and the balancing act performed between Jacob's largely sensible reasoning, Lou's sweary, boozy antics, Adam's (Cusack) romantic leanings and Nick's pining for his wife is successful in keeping the story fresh and fast.

The one downside in all this is the fact that Pink and the writers do leave themselves open to accusations of misogyny or, at the very least, an inability to write proper female characters. Every one of them (with the exception of April (Lizzy Caplan)) appears to be in the film as a sex object for one of the male characters or as an air head who helps to facilitate the plot by being stupid. Caplan's character goes some way to rectifying this but at times she feels like an afterthought and needs a sequel to secure any real sense of development. A sequel to this though would be entirely welcome and Pink ensures his audience leaves satisfied (the final conceptual jokes are amongst the film's finest) whilst presenting several opportunities to re-vist the characters in the future. Like The Hangover but with John Cusack. Another great combination.

Look further...

'a rowdy, fun and simple-minded piece of entertainment that is worth seeing' - Anomalous Material, C+


  1. Somehow this movie really didn't do it for me. Although there were some funny moments/dialog, as a whole the movie was disappointing to me.

    I've score it a 5 (out of 10):

  2. I've heard a lot of people saying that so you're definitely not alone. I personally did find it very satisfying. I can understand not liking it if you dislike that sort of laddish humour but if you're a fan of that sort of thing then I found it at least as funny as, say, THE HANGOVER.

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