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Movie Review: Hot Tub Time Machine
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Hot Tub Time Machine movie posterHot Tub Time Machine – **
Directed by Steve Pink
Starring John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke
Rated R
Release date: March 26, 2010

What a luxury it must be to go back in time and alter your entire future. You will especially be prompted to do so if in the present day you are condemned to a life that either has your wife bailing on you, suicide plaguing your every waking hours, or pulling excrement out of a dog’s behind. Yeah, one can easily be negatively affected, haunted, and scarred by these particular instances. As matter of fact, anything that can slightly act as an anecdote against such impervious circumstances should be valued immediately by the victims. That anecdote happens to be a hot tub which acts out of character by morphing into a time machine. Once the film, not surprisingly titled Hot Tub Time Machine, makes it all too clear, in a paint-by-numbers way, who these individuals are (played by John Cusack, Rob Corddry, and Craig Robinson) that are primarily subjected to the ghastly implications of their reality, it is hard for us to emphasize the slightest sense of sympathy because they are all rotten to the core with an obscene sense of reconciliation and individualism.

Directed by Steve Pink, who’s other outlandish comedy, Accepted, involved a creation of a collegiate university, the film has a tinge of romanticism to it, manly romanticism, and even a vision that can produce a narrative that is cautionary and sad: Themes that employ the sense of loss, a time, and place when man was happy only to return there years later to find it destroyed. Even though these possible themes are expunged from the film within the first fifteen minutes, there is still an inkling of what these themes could have produced if director Pink deflected the over-use of primitive humor for cheap laughs. Homage to the 80s is much welcomed and some members from the audience will have a blast from the past, with jokes that are witty and relevant to that particular era.

Adam (Cusack), Lou (Corddry), and Nick (Robinson), lifelong friends who have drifted apart, are all in the grip of the forces of reality. They are aging, miserable, sexually incompetent, and unsure about themselves and their future. The fix that could possibly lead them to ascend out of their mid-life “crisis” is a trip that should make them feel young again, stronger, form a strength of character that each used to possess so vigorously back in 1986. Corddry and Robinson have some comedic occurrences that trump all others the film offers. The talented Mr. Cusack, who can’t seem to develop a comfortable demeanor that can benefit the film, has no ability to integrate with Corddry or Robinson. He seems to be lost in a maze, constantly trying to fathom why he is in a movie like this one.

They take a trip to a ski resort, along with Adam’s nerdy nephew Jacob (Clark Duke), that was renowned back in 1986 for their excess of partying, booze, and sex; the ideal anecdotes strictly devoted to please the alpha male. Once there they find their “paradise” to resemble an outdated Western town. Buildings are boarded up and the population is scarce (meaning no smoking hot women), but the four men persist that they can have a good time regardless. They occupy the same room they had back in ’86 to relive the magic and bond like brothers again only to realize how tough it is without the euphoria of women and drugs.

Up to this point Hot Tub suggests it has some potential to exploit man’s emotions by their realization that the past has faded. An implausible ploy is then used to cut the existential drama occupying the film thus far and it comes in form of a hot tub time machine. Outside their lodging is one of these devices that can transport the characters back to Winter Fest ’86, the last time they were at the resort. It is a preposterous and unrealistic scheme used to conjure up answers about one’s past, present, and future as Adam, Lou, and Nick have to abide by the exact rules they abided by when they were last there. But this movie isn’t made by a rousing director who predicates himself on delivering thought-provoking drama. Hell, he created a college in his last film so I guess he is allowed to re-write the futures of a couple of disgruntled middle-aged men.

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