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Hot Tub Time Machine is pretty much what you expect it to be: an entertaining, albeit silly, throwaway comedy. Fortunately, it doesn't aspire to be anything else. Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Lou (Rob Corddry) are three lifelong friends who've drifted apart over the years. When Lou accidentally attempts suicide (something involving drunkenly sitting in his still-running car in the garage, listening to Motley Crue and using the gas pedal as the kick drum whilst playing "air drums"), the other two decide to take him up to the mountains to the ski resort that was so formative in their youth. Along for the ride is Jacob (Clark Duke), Adam's withdrawn and technologically-obsessed nephew, who wants to see the most amazing vacation spot in the world. Unfortunately, alot of things have changed over the last 20 some odd years, and their once cherished swinging lodge resort is now more of a home for feral cats and a surly one-armed bellboy (Crispin Glover). The hot tub even has a dead raccoon in it. However, once the hot tub is repaired and cleaned out, the guys start to relax and enjoy themselves (even breaking out the russian energy drink, which somehow plays a significant role in their time travel), until the next morning when they wake up in 1986. Jacob reminds everyone of "The Butterfly Effect" and tells everyone to do exactly what they did 20 years ago, as any changes they make will alter the space/time continuum and cause possibly disastrous future implications. Obviously Jacob has seen "Back to the Future".
Of course things get all messed up, as Adam can't seem to break up with his extraordinarily hot 1986 girlfriend (as he's supposed to do) and Nick doesn't want to sleep with a groupie (as he's supposed to do, because he doesn't want to cheat on his 2010 wife). There are also ski patrol bullies (ala Cusack's 1985 film, "Better Off Dead"), a gangster-type gambler who looks suspiciously like the bully from "The Karate Kid" (and in fact, he is), and of course, Chevy Chase. There are so many 80s references it's like they took everything from that decade and crammed it into that ski lodge, but obviously they had to do this otherwise we wouldn't have known what decade it was supposed to be taking place in. In other words, unlike Back to the Future's fifties references, it's not so subtle.
Those who are students of the eighties should be suitably impressed with this film as it references just about anything you could expect (surprisingly, I didn't spot any Rubik's cubes in the film, though), and even the film itself comes off as sort of an eighties-style movie. Craig Robinson (Darryl from The Office) is as usual, understatedly funny, but it's Rob Corddry who goes for the big laughs. His character is pretty unpleasant but somehow endearing. His scenes with Crispin Glover made me laugh everytime. Is Hot Tub Time Machine the next Hangover? Maybe, maybe not, though to tell the truth, the Hangover was kind of overrated. It's another film in a line of dumb, grossout, toilet humor, stoner bros-type comedies, and if you're a fan of the genre, (and your expectations aren't that high) this won't disappoint.
*** out of *****
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