Ever done anything you’ve wished you could go back and change? What if you were given the chance to make right a wrong that altered your life forever? When three friends are bought back together after an apparent suicide attempt they find themselves and a rogue nephew transported back to the 1980’s after they make a pilgrimage to where they once shared holidays in their heyday. Oh and the time machine just happens to be a hot tub.
People will approach their cinema seats either in eager anticipation or extreme trepidation from what they infer from Hot Tub Time Machine‘s title. Luckily the film embraces the sheer cheesetasticness of its name and gives a tongue in cheek glimpse of the nerdy world of time travel.
Hot Tub Time Machine revels in its journey to the eighties. Prepare for cassette players, bad hair and legwarmers aplenty. Nods to the decade fashion forgot don’t end there, watch out for eighties comedy idol Chevy Chase as the handyman who cryptically helps the time travel victims whilst other beady-eyed viewers may recognise one-armed Phil as being George McFly, Michael J. Fox’s father in the cult eighties movie series Back to the Future.
Despite his leading-man status, it is not John Cusack who shines brightest in this offbeat comedy. Craig Robinson provides most laughs as Nick Webber whilst up and coming 2010’s favourite Clark Duke shows his future potential as Cusack’s nephew.
The film lurches from the barely plausible (erm, a hot tub time machine, really?) to the downright silly (eyes here looking at the repercussions of Lou (Rob Corddry)’s betting scene) but squeezes laughs throughout. Its dealing with the more depressing aspects of life (Cusack’s Adam’s stickered break up and the adulterous actions of Nick’s wife for example) is sympathetic but the characters aren’t allowed to wallow for too long; they have to relive one of the most defining evenings of their lives. What is produced is an even more defining night that none of them will ever forget.
Other highlights include funny drunken discussions as to the intricacies of the butterfly effect and the rounded ending that provides closure to a film that could, quite easily, have spawned a sequel.
Best hair; Not a category that usually finds its way into our reviews, but youthful Nick’s hair deserves special appreciation.
Best line; ‘It must be some kind of … hot tub time machine.’
Best song; Craig Robinson’s rendition of Black Eyed Peas’ smash Let’s Get It Started.
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